Bonavista Entrance Feature: A mini case study

Article By:

Studio Manager—Winnipeg | Landscape architect

Background:

Genstar Development Company enlisted Nadi to help develop one primary and two secondary entrance features for the Bonavista neighbourhood, which is a new residential development in Winnipeg, MB. As one of the city’s up-and-coming neighbourhoods, Bonavista boasts modern suburban living, surrounded by beautiful landscaped parks and lakes.

Team:
  • Nadi
Consultants and contractors:
  • JD Penner (General Contractor and Concrete work)
  • Koch Stainless Steel
  • Pedra Industries Inc.
  • T C D Power Systems
Project Budget:

$115,000 approx. 

Introduction:

Genstar Development Company engaged Nadi to create two custom designed entrance features in Bonavista, a new 200+ acre development in Southeast Winnipeg. Our collective vision for the entrance features was to create a modern design that was warm, inviting and sustainable. I drew inspiration for the design from the developer’s vision for Bonavista: to create a new modern home community built on the foundation of design and environmental sustainability.

To preface this case study, the Bonavista Entrance Features is one of my favourite design projects that I have ever helped create for a Nadi client. I worked alongside my colleagues, Kara McDowell and Andy Johnson, a former landscape architect and senior landscape architect, respectively, who worked at Nadi until 2017, to complete this project. 

Project Conceptualization:

To start, we reviewed relevant background information, concerning the material and development of the project. We researched existing entrance features to establish precedents for similar types of neighbourhood developments. We individually drew concepts (by hand) for one primary entrance feature and one secondary entrance feature. Kara and I spent a lot time collaborating on this project: we presented our sketches to one another, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of each design. After each review, we made adjustments to our designs, proceeding to the next step, which included creating a 3D model of each concept using a program called Sketch-Up. We produced a series of renderings for the entry signage and presented them to the client.

When it came time to meet the client, he was very receptive to the different design concepts that we presented to him. During the meeting, he shortlisted a few of our ideas to move forward with and offered his input for some changes that we later incorporated into the final designs for the primary and secondary features. 

We designed the primary feature to resemble a long rectilinear form (5.5 metres wide and 1.85 metres high). On the left side, we included a 2.37 metre long white concrete square with an offset aluminium metal sheet, bearing the neighbourhood logo: “BV”. On the right side of the square piece holds the rest of the entrance feature, running about four metres in length and clad with wood siding. We used Mataverde Machieche hardwood—a sustainable type of wood harvested in South America. Mataverde Machieche hardwood has a long life expectancy and a “Class A” fire rating, essentially meaning the material is effective against severe fire exposure. Moreover, we recommended this type of hardwood because it ranges in colour from light brown to reddish brown to a medium chocolate brown, and ages to a mellow silvery patina. Finally, running along the front of the feature, we included backlit stainless steel lettering, "Bonavista", to ensure that anyone visiting the neighbourhood would know precisely where they are. The primary entrance feature sits on a cement base.

For the secondary entrance feature, we designed it to a length of 1.4 metres and a high of 1.85 metres, clad in the same Mataverde Machieche hardwood side. It has a smooth concrete base with a cut stainless steel "BV" logo on the face. Furthermore, it has a peaked metal roof and metal flashing under the bottom row of siding to shed water off from it similar to the primary entrance feature.  

Project Realization

After finalizing the final design of the entrance features with the client, I collaborated with Andy to prepare the tender documents. We released the project for tender and made a recommendation to the client of our choice for the winning contractor. I worked with him and developed the construction drawings set for the project. When the drawings became ready, we scheduled a start-up meeting with JD Penner (the winning contractor) and reviewed the drawings with them. After they submitted their schedule, and we reviewed it along with the client who approved it, JD Penner started construction on the project. 

As the General Contractor, and who managed the subcontractors, JD Penner was responsible for the concrete work. Koch Stainless Steel produced the lettering for the entrance feature as well as the logo for the secondary feature. T C D Power wired the LED backlighting, and procured and installed the solar power system, including the solar cell, the controller and the battery for the primary entrance feature (the secondary entrance feature is not backlit). Pedra Industries Inc. carefully cut the hardwood onsite to fit the primary feature, and they installed it on a Climate-Shield Rain Screen Wood Siding System that would help shed water away from the feature. 

The first thing the project team constructed was the concrete base for the primary entrance feature. We then poured the concrete end and installed a wrap around the finished metal framing. The next step our team performed was the installation of the wood siding, which Pedra Industries Inc. supplied, cut and attached to the metal bracket system around the primary entrance feature. The last piece that we installed was the peaked metal roof. T C D Power installed the battery controller (inside the primary feature) and the wiring to the solar cell, mounting it on a pole that sits behind the feature on the right side.Furthermore, we created a door located at the back of the feature for access to the internal components. 

The secondary entrance feature was much more straightforward to construct. There was no backlighting needed, and the sequence of construction was similar to the primary entrance feature, where we poured the base first and then built the frame on the installed siding. We installed the logo on top, afterwards.

During the entire course of the installation, Andy and I inspected the ongoing work and coordinated with JD Penner to fix deficiencies and issues that came up with the construction of the entrance features. As there were no other projects in our office that we could reference that had similar internal structures, we spent time researching and designing an inner frame that the exterior wood panels could sit on. This issue, compounded with the number of hours allocated by the client towards finding out the information required to construct the entrance features and design the LED-lighting of the backlights for the primary entrance feature to run on solar power, proved to be the biggest challenge.

For the most part, however, the installation of the entrance features went well. There were some minor bumps in the road, including some issues with the metal faceplate on the primary entrance feature and the quality of the concrete. Thankfully, the contractors’ prompt attention fixed these issues as they came up.

Conclusion 

Overall, it was a great experience and client has showcased the final product on their corporate website in the United States. I am pleased with the way this project turned out, and satisfied with the look of the entrance features. Also, the fact we powered the lighting for the primary entrance feature using solar power and making this project sustainable, makes me happy. I now have gained the experience to anticipate better the amount of time that would be involved in the various phases of design and construction of projects like this and will streamline the number of hours spent, the next time. Also, as this was the first time using solar power, I now have more understanding of what is involved with these types of systems.

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