Seymour Conservatory and Museum

City of Orillia

Top image Seymour Conservatory and Museum
Dr. Seymour Conservatory and Museum

The Dr. Seymour Conservatory serves as an important public facility that will be used by the community year-round. It is currently one of two working greenhouses that support the city’s yearly planting production for all of its gardens including the park itself. It will be both interactive and interpretive, combining the natural human and horticultural heritage of the site with discovery and learning. The design of the new conservatory is inspired by the structure and shape of the fishing weirs used by the first nation. The articulation of the building forms an envelope allowing a gradual transition from the functional glazed greenhouse into a two-storey public space that takes the shape of the weirs.

The goal of the project is to create an inspirational landmark building for Couchiching Beach Park and the community. The orientation of the building is primarily based on the views of the lake and the former fishing wiers. The fa├žade will allow sunlight to penetrate and feed the flowers during the day and emit light at night like a lantern acting as a beacon for the park entry point. It is important for the new conservatory to be light in its ecological footprint which inspired sustainable architectural techniques. The slope of the building roof made for efficient ventilation through the stack effect caused by the airflow throughout. The curving roof will be finished with white cedar shingles. White cedar is indigenous to the area and in keeping with the historical context of the site as it was used 3000 years ago by the Mnijijaning to build the fishing weirs. White cedar is practical and naturally weatherproof, long-lasting, and is a sustainable resource.