Mountain Equipment Co-op

Barrie, Ontario


MEC’s goal was to review an existing design for a large retail store, and produce an environmentally responsive adaptation at an alternate suburban location.

Our challenge was to review the design of an existing built form that was previously executed in another location, and adapt it to a suburban big-box retail environment adjacent to a major highway. As in the Burlington store, MEC Barrie was designed for disassembly in order to recover the building’s component parts for a future resource.

Our solution was arrived at through various material and design choices. Structural members were constructed of exposed steel with bolted connections, allowing for future re-use. Typical exterior walls are structural insulated panels, a system that is materially efficient and simple and quick to assemble on site. Exterior finish materials are mechanically fastened modular panels of prefinished cement board and metal siding. Also, extensive daylighting opportunities reduce the requirement for artificial lighting. North-facing clerestorey windows are located along the vertical face of the sloped saw-tooth roof, and photovoltaic array panels are located on the south-facing sloped roofs. An underground cistern holds water run-off, a swale and filtration gallery allow surface water run-off to “filter” naturally into the ground, and water captured from the roof is used for toilet flushing and site irrigation.


The key to the project’s success was our ability to analyze and adapt a site through an inventive and environmentally conscious approach, despite the complex difficulties that come with relocating an existing building.


Client: Mountain Equipment Co-op


In joint venture with Studio MMA Atelier D'Architecture