Materials mockup for Taza Reservoir showcases a beautiful beginningOctober 27, 2021
A recently completed materials mockup for our Taza Water Reservoir project provided an exciting up-close look at the project coming to life.
Aiming for a Net Zero design, the materiality of the Reservoir focuses on the use of heavy timber, even incorporating re-purposed wooden poles from the site itself. The fence’s southern facing façade will be lined with solar PV panels which will provide enough energy to make the pumphouse Net Zero.
The goal of building a mockup such as this, which included a full-scale segment of the perimeter fencing fabricated in-shop by Heavy Industries, is to test the lighting, logs and integrated metal accent elements. Going beyond computer simulations and seeing in-person how the elements work together has been illuminating in bringing the design into reality.
The process has been hands on, with the involvement of Zeidler Partner James Brown and Intern Architect Donny Wolcott aiding in moving the logs and testing various lighting configurations in the shop. “The mockup process is one of discovery. The team was struck by how the lighting revealed the texture of the saw-marks on site, which further informed the lighting strategy and contributes to the richness of the project,” says Donny. Utilizing test segments allows the team to investigate all elements first in a controlled setting. This harbors an environment to uncover the most effective solutions to enhance the sculptural qualities of the design; a process which will also happen on site during construction.
The natural environment is integral to the sculptural quality of the design and how this project will be experienced, so recently the mockup was taken to the Reservoir site so that we could examine how the configurations would look at various times of day. The design changes constantly with the movement of the sun and is experienced differently moment-to-moment. “It’s like a painting. We are hands on in rotating the logs and placing the lighting so that we can get the right balance in what we are trying to achieve. A computer can never simulate this,” says James. “When you do anything on a computer or you see a mockup in studio, you don’t really have a sense of it until you see it on site. It helps to understand the design in context.”
The Taza Water Reservoir has won a 2020 Canadian Architect Award of Excellence. Read more about the project here.