MJMA approaches sustainable design as an intrinsic project consideration that is embedded in our process and working methodology. Sustainability is an opportunity for design innovation, and we recognize that it must take a ‘big picture’ approach that addresses the entire project’s ecological footprint. We believe that sustainable architecture should deliver responsible energy and resource use, but also facilitate wellness, social equality and inclusivity, and universal accessibility.
Our planet’s interconnected crises of climate breakdown, ecological degradation, and societal inequality are the most pressing issues of our time. As signatories of the AIA 2030 Commitment and Architects Declare, MJMA is committed to taking measurable actions alongside our clients, collaborators, and communities, to build and support the intergenerational health and resiliency of our communities and living systems. We understand that some of a community’s most vulnerable people are also some of the most at risk when it comes to climate change. With this in mind, we approach design with an eye toward creating a place where residents feel empowered — a place that encourages diversity and community connection. We think of the places we design as a safe harbours for all their constituents. In our experience, social sustainability is just as important as environmental sustainability, particularly as we move into an uncertain future.
Prioritizing Passive Strategies
We prioritize passive measures first, such as building orientation, massing, the use of natural light, and natural ventilation – these allow the local climate to serve as a resource opportunity.
MJMA is designing 6 Net-Zero or Zero-Carbon recreation facilities, including Canada’s first Net-Zero aquatic-based recreation centre, Western North York Community Centre.
Triple Bottom Line Analysis
Using Autocase software during the Integrated Design Process (IDP) has allowed us to attribute triple-bottom-line values (environmental, financial, and social) to a project and explore how design options impact energy consumption, budgetary limits, and quality of life for the community.
Mass Timber Low Carbon Building
MJMA has developed 4 community-based projects and multiple academic campus designs using Mass Timber as a low-carbon solution that enhances health, wellness, and aesthetics.
Engaging Local Industries and Resources
MJMA seeks out local resources and industries (such as forestry) to make facilities that are truly representative of their place, while delivering a long-lasting solution to the community.
Open and Naturally Ventilated Pools
We have employed natural ventilation in aquatic halls, including operable sliding windows. These have the added advantages of giving access to outside amenities and creating visual connections between interior and exterior spaces.
Innovation in Water Conservation
We have implemented strategies to significantly reduce water demand and loss (for instance that from pool basin evaporation and annual maintenance-related shutdowns) including cisterns that store water collected from a facility’s roof and exterior spaces.