The Peace Bridge border crossing is a major gateway between Fort Erie, Canada and Buffalo, US, handling some five million vehicle and 1.5 million commercial truck crossings annually. Border security changes, congestion and increased capacity drove the need for its redevelopment of the Canadian Plaza. Central to NORR’s design was a dramatic sweeping wood canopy with extensive cantilevers evoking the shape of the Indigenous peoples’ long house structure and canoe, one of the earliest forms of transportation used to cross the Niagara River at this location.
The building program included: a Travellers Operations building housing the Canada Border Services Agency; a shared facility for the Refugee Processing Unit (non-governmental organization (NGO)) and Newcomers Centre and the Peace Bridge Authority Administration Building. NORR’s integrated in-house design team took into consideration the need for the efficient flow and movement of traffic with particular attention to maintaining complete operation of the existing crossing throughout the construction stage of the project.
NORR’s interior design solution for the various buildings incorporates soft earth tones of wood and natural stone found throughout the project site and its immediate surroundings. A skylight running the length of the main multi-story building provides natural light to penetrate the building’s timber structure creating a welcoming character rarely achieved in a security-conscious institutional building. Pedestrian bridges and canopies provide safe and barrier-free access for staff and sheltered areas for vehicle inspection. An underground air duct system provides clean air source to the Customs booths. NORR’s specialized knowledge and best practices regarding secure building types is combined with a visionary design approach to create a landmark at this transition between two countries.
- 2014 20 + 10 + X World Architecture (WA) Community Awards 16. Cycle, Citation by Honorary Members
- 2010 Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), Design Excellence
- 2009 AIA’s Academy of Architecture for Justice Knowledge Community Justice Facility Review, Citation
- 2008 20 + 10+ X World Architecture (WA) Community Awards, 2nd Cycle, Citation by Honorary Members
- 2008 Canadian Institute of Steel Construction, Ontario Steel Design Award, Award of Merit, Architectural Category
- 2007 Ontario Public Works Association, Project of the Year Award in Transportation greater than $10 million
- 2007 Canadian Wood Council, WoodWork Award, Institutional Wood Design Award
- 2007 Canadian Wood Council, Wood Design Awards, Merit Award
- 2005 Ontario Concrete Awards, Precast Concrete Structural Design Innovation Award
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