Sobeys Distribution Center

Laureate for the 2009 Ordre des Architectes du Québec Awards

The Sobeys distribution center is in the industrial park of the city of Trois-Rivières. The industrial building has a surface area of 14,000m2 and includes a huge, refrigerated warehouse. The other functions that make up the program include training and restoration spaces, offices, locker rooms and mechanical areas.

The project’s environmental and economic challenges were to minimize the high energy consumption associated with this type of program. The refrigeration and artificial lighting are the most important energy uses in this type of building. The comfort of the users is an important priority that was put at the forefront of initial design decisions.

Inherent to the program, the main part of the building is a large volume housing the refrigerated warehouse. The white insulating exterior cladding will be concealed in a few years by a continuous vegetal curtain. Specifically designed for the project, a suspension system consisting of a series of stainless-steel cables was installed to support the vine plantations. The cooling system uses an innovative process that eliminates the use of refrigerant gas containing CFCs for the refrigeration. A heat recovery strategy saves nearly 50% of the required power to keep the temperature at a level that meets the needs of the various functions.

To reduce the reliance on artificial lighting and to optimize users’ comfort, a series of openings made of translucent insulation punctuate the southern and northern facades of the refrigerated volume.

The building’s main entrance is located on the west side and indicated by a large panel which also serves to disguise the building’s mechanics. The entrance and services volume is clearly differentiated from the warehouse volume. Several large openings were made to provide abundant natural light and views of the surrounding landscape for the building’s occupants. Not common in the industrial context, biophilia premises were integrated into the common spaces.

The site is equipped with a green roof, a retention basin, a wetland, and a purification system to treat all the complex’s wastewater and runoff. No discharge is therefore sent to the municipal sewer system.


Project carried out in consortium with Gross Kaplin Coviensky Architects