ANNE OF GREEN GABLES VISITORS CENTRE
“The sweetest creation of
child life yet written.”
Ever since Mark Twain said this over 100 years ago, the story of Anne has captured people’s imaginations all over the world. Green Gables Heritage Place has become one of the most visited Federal Parks in Canada and an iconic maritime tourist destination. The New Visitors Centre takes cues from its rural context, with vernacular barn forms connected through a single-storey lobby space, all employing mass timber structural frames. Materials are contemporary, yet complimentary to the historic focal point of the property.
The building was designed to achieve LEED Gold Certification. The idea was to promote natural mass timber construction, stimulating the local economy and minimizing emissions, while presenting a structure that educates visitors and showcases warm and open interior spaces. It is a good example of the capabilities of modern wood construction method, coupled with high R-Value assemblies, PV panels, an outdoor air system, 42% water savings, and 100% powered by renewable energy, creating a highly sustainable project. Being a seasonal tourist destination, summer weather became a large design influence; in the warmest months, entryways can be kept open, extending the public space outdoors and allowing summer breezes to naturally cool the interiors. Natural light floods all public spaces and reflects the warm tones of the wood, contrasted only with the PEI sand colour-matched concrete floors and white paint.
The project not only enhanced the story about Anne of Green Gables and Lucy Maud Montgomery, but used some of the most innovative mass timber systems in the local marketplace. The exposed structure continues to inspire and educate all visitors.