The Gene-H.-Kruger Pavilion houses a key component of the Canadian secondary wood processing research network led by 4 universities, Laval, British Columbia, Toronto and New Brunswick, and Forintek Canada, a private wood products research institute as well as Laval University's Wood Research Centre and the Industrial Chair in Engineered Wood for Structural and Finishing Purposes .
The passageway that connects this new building with the existing Abitibi-Price Pavilion is filled with natural light and the beauty of its exposed engineered wood structure. As a matter of fact, the entire building structure is composed of engineered wood.
This 3-level, 8,000 m2 building is divided into two sections. The 5,000 m2 controlled access section houses 18 specialized laboratories dedicated to basic and applied research in forestry science, wood processing technologies and the development of value-added and engineered wood products. The open access area offers three classrooms and offices.
A cement fire wall separates the laboratory sector from the rest of the building. The "light" laboratories are dedicated to the physics, chemistry and anatomy of wood. Located on the Du Vallon Highway side of the building, the "heavy" laboratories section acts as a sound barrier for classroom and office area. Numbering a dozen, these laboratories are huge rooms with ceilings that are at least 8 m high, the equivalent of two stories. Each contains a mini-plant with all the industrial equipment available on the market, but on a reduced scale. The drying laboratory, for example, is equipped with a conventional, a dehumidification and a vacuum lumber dryer. Like most of the pavilion's heavy laboratories, it is equipped with seven basic systems required by all types of research. These systems use gas, steam or demineralized water. Most plants are equipped with only one of two of these systems.
Because of the equipment loads, the heavy laboratories section sits solidly on firm ground, with no basement below it. There is nothing on top of it, either, except the roof with its very large skylights that maximize natural light.
Two laboratories and the woodworking shop are connected to a built-in dust extraction system. The air is filtered and then returned to the interior environment. The dust is captured in containers located outside the building. Lift trucks are used to bring materials used in the research work from the storage areas, also located outside.
The research taking place in the heavy laboratories includes finishing, pressing of wood-based composite panels, mechanical testing and machining of wood. In finishing, kilns are used to expose varnishes to heat and ultraviolet rays. The mechanical tests are conducted under controlled temperature and humidity conditions throughout the laboratory. In machining of wood, researchers study the action of cutting tools in the wood. Researchers also have at their disposable four wood conditioning rooms and two freezers. The latter are used to store samples of wet wood to prevent them drying out or rotting.
The pavilion is a showcase for different value-added Canadian wood products. It is also a "sustainable" or "green" building, thanks to the use of non-polluting, non-toxic, renewable and recycled materials in its construction. It offers a top-quality working environment in terms of air quality, acoustics and lighting, while utilizing at least 22% less energy than an equivalent concrete building. A low-flow sanitary system minimizes potable water consumption. A hybrid ventilation system allows occupants to open the windows whenever the outside temperature permits, without compromising the mechanical ventilation system, thus blending air quality and comfort.
The building envelope's high thermal resistance exceeds Building Code requirements. It is the first on campus with a solar panel wall, on the same level as the heavy-duty shops. This energy and the glassed-in wall openings are used to heat the air. The building's orientation also allows the Centre to maximize the use of natural lighting, especially in the winter, and reduce energy consumption during the morning hours, when there is the most demand for heat. In summer, a system of shades filters the sunlight, reducing the risk of overheating.