Civic Centre Redevelopment

The completed Civic Centre renovation project delivers a more sustainable City Hall, improved public access and new community space. This project re-purposed the former City library building, revitalized some areas of City Hall, and enhanced Civic Plaza. The new City Hall benefited from sustainability enhancements, better public access and a seismic upgrade.

The Civic Centre revitalization delivered:

  • Prominent public entrances and access to City hall from 13th Street and Civic Plaza
  • Improved building energy performance
  • Greater public access to City departments
  • More public counters
  • Enhanced disability access to City Hall
  • A more public building for the community
  • Improved and new space for public gatherings
  • Public art pieces

The renovated City Hall has been honoured with a Governor General's Award in Architecture.

The Architectural Institute of BC has given the City the Lieutenant Governor Award in recognition of design excellence.

The Canadian Wood Council presented the City with the Community Recognition Award for its support of the BC wood industry.

Construction Details

Schedule: Begun March 2009, completed May 2012
Construction July 2010 - May 2012
New Construction: 11,000 sq. ft.
Renovation: 27,000 sq. ft.
Size: 38,000 sq. ft. total project area
Materials: Mass timber and laminated strand lumber
Natural and stained clear cedar
Sustainability: LEED Silver Rating
Heated by Lonsdale Energy system
Architect: MGB Architecture
Construction: Stuart Olsen Construction
Project Management: Turnbull Construction Services Ltd.

Enhanced Features

  • New front entrance on 13th Street
  • Enhanced 14th Street Plaza entrance
  • New public space and community meeting rooms
  • Expanded public counters at Finance and Community Development departments
  • New washrooms and amenities for the public
  • Increased accessibility for seniors and disabled

Public Space

The renovation delivers a very public building, about and for the community. The open and transparent design is the main link between the public and all departments within the 67 metre (220 foot) long atrium space.

The design creates a strong public presence on 13th Street and increases the presence and connection on the 14th Street Civic Plaza. A clear front door facing the street now welcomes those entering City Hall.

The building celebrates the community through art, design and shared informal community space inside and out. The atrium provides a new and improved space for large public gatherings, offering a modern aesthetic with large windows and a central skylight filling the airy space with natural light while the wood treatment generates warmth.

The growth of the City over the last several decades has increased the public demand on City Hall. New counters are now in place to service the public.

The design simplifies public way-finding to and from City Hall, as well as within the building.

A large and public multipurpose meeting room is available at the end of the atrium. The meeting room is perched 45 feet (14 metres) over the front entrance, creating a dramatic arrival plaza on 13th Street.


Sustainable design has been incorporated into all aspects of this revitalization project. This includes environmental, social and economic sustainability. Each major design element—day lighting, natural ventilation in the atrium, reusing materials, sequestering carbon dioxide in the wood roof, durable legacy construction and an interactive landscape approach—was considered for its sustainable benefit to the community. The renovation is projected to achieve LEED Silver rating.

To address long-term energy costs, the building is integrated into the Lonsdale Energy district energy heating system, providing radiant heating and cooling to the new slabs in the building.

The extensive reuse of materials tells a story through the design. An 80 year-old elm tree sat in the space between the existing library and City Hall and as its roots were causing structural damage to the two buildings, it was determined that the tree must be removed. To honour the elm and mark its presence where the atrium now stands, the re-purposed wood is the key feature in the wall of the atrium staircase. The wall is intended to echo the timber stacked in mill yards in the City's early days.

Continuing the theme of the elm tree, the design uses cedar sunshades from the existing building which were removed and milled down for landscape benches, giving the wood new life in the new building.

The structure of the old library building has been retained and seismically reinforced by fiberglass wrapping the existing concrete columns. The old library building provides most of the new area for City Hall.

The upper level roof garden has a series of paper bark maple trees that shade the atrium windows in summer and let light and warmth through when the leaves fall in winter.

The building makes use of natural cross ventilation with air being drawn through the area and exhausted out the atrium high clerestory window vents.

Exterior sunshades prevent solar radiation from reaching south facing rooms during summer months.

City Hall Community Garden

The City Hall Community Garden is home to 22 garden plots. It is the newest community garden in the City of North Vancouver, bringing the total to four. It features accessible, raised beds and two locally built triple-bin composters. The garden shed is integrated into City Hall, near the stairs to the roof garden above Council Chambers. The garden was funded by the City of North Vancouver and is managed by the North Shore Community Garden Society.

Wood Innovation

The new Civic Centre is an expressive showcase for the innovative use of wood in buildings and is important to sustainability. Rapidly renewable wood sourced from sustainable forest practices has been used to dramatically reduce the greenhouse gas and energy footprint of the building's structure.

A minimum 10,000 cu/ft of wood were used, weighing 115 metric tonnes, representing approximately 230 metric tonnes of stored CO2 in the new building structure.

The atrium roof structure is built of cross laminations of large format Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL). The solution is a first of its kind, spanning 32' and interlocking to make a 220' long atrium. The panels, pre-fabricated and erected on site, are made of aspen, a rapidly renewable wood with a 10-12 year growth cycle.

The City received one of the Province of BC's three Wood Design Grants for Innovation from Wood Enterprise Coalition. The grant honoured the design solution and efforts to develop a sustainable roof structure.

The red public counters are unique. The same LSL material as the roof structure was used and treated differently by sanding and filling the panel voids and then dying the panels a rich shade of red.

Community Recognition Award Presentation

The Canadian Wood Council honoured the City of North Vancouver on September 18, 2013 for its City Hall renovation project.

AIBC Lieutenant Governor Award for Design Excellence

On October 25, 2013 the City Hall Phase 1 redevelopment won the Lieutenant Governor Award through the Architectural Institute of BC (AIBC). The Lieutenant Governor Award is in recognition of design excellence.

The City received the Lieutenant Governor Award in recognition of design excellence on October 25, 2013.
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