Holistic sustainability in the design of the Taza Water ReservoirApril 22, 2021
For the Tsuut’ina, water is sacred.
Rising gently above the blades of Buffalo Grass that define the surrounding lowland prairie, the Taza Water Reservoir is a critical piece of infrastructure that follows a core Tsuut’ina value: protecting resources for future generations.
By using a holistic approach to sustainability, one that approaches design from a cultural, environmental, social and economic point of view, the Reservoir adequately responds to the needs of the growing community with resiliency in mind. Here we detail aspects of the design represented by each pillar of sustainability.
GUNINISHA ISILA GUTSIK’ATS’IDIYA-HI | Cultural influences
The Reservoir represents the physical return of water from the Glenmore reservoir back to Tsuut’ina land to be redistributed, as well as a symbolic demonstration of Tsuut’ina cultural values and water conservation practices. Additional cultural symbology can be found in the shaping of the wooden solar fence which makes reference to the beaver dam, reflecting the Tsuut’ina being known as the “Beaver People.” The integration of the solar fence within the landscape speaks to the Tsuut’ina understanding of the interconnectivity between all living beings, the land, places of meaning and neighbouring communities. Finally, using the site’s unshaded southern exposure for a solar array expresses the Tsuut’ina value of respecting the resources for future generations.
MISGUSɁONI UWA NISK’A AADIT’IYI | Nature and Connection to the Land
The pumphouse building aims to be Net Zero, which will be achieved by using appropriate wall assemblies and solar panels for the pumphouse building’s electrical requirements. Additionally, the pumphouse structure will be comprised of glulam beams and columns while the roof decking will be made of tongue and groove wood boards. The design team is also investigating technologies for the water pumps that will create more efficient operations to further address the energy and water consumption challenges. Finally, a visual feedback component is integrated into the project which will help in educating site visitors about water conservation at Taza.
GUDISNUD-DI UWA ATŁ’ADITIYA | Community and Connectivity
There is an importance of this site as a welcoming gateway feature for Taza Park. Therefore, the project aims to be an integrated development in an accessible network of meaningful places within Taza. While the area over the reservoir will not be accessible to the public, a public space with views into the pumphouse is integrated next to the adjacent Eagle Landing development. This public space is easily accessible from the surrounding sites through the regional multi-use pathways.
ASTAA-GU DIDILI NATS’IYINI-HI | Economic Diversity
Upon completion, the Reservoir will provide a consistent, economical and safe supply of drinking water to the Tsuut’ina Nation. The Water Reservoir will replace aging infrastructure and facilitate the Tsuut’ina Nation’s current utilities within their infrastructure improvement program. Finally, the Water Reservoir and Pumphouse act on the opportunity to contribute to the liveliness and economic success of the public realm by creating an interesting, engaging and exciting destination at Eagle Landing within Taza Park.
The Taza Water Reservoir is the result of a collaborative effort between Zeidler Architecture, Taza Development Corp., the Tsuut’ina Nation and Canderel, along with WSP, AES, Heavy Industries, DesignWorkshop, pLAnt Studio and Level Playing Field. The project recently received the Award of Excellence from Canadian Architect for its thoughtful design, along with an industry-leading approach to sustainability.