The Biosphere Centre

The CBT has begun the process to establish a Biosphere Centre. Within the UNESCO themes of education, science, and culture, the centre will be a place of sharing and learning from which we can engage people in our programs. We envision a welcoming space, where residents, visitors, and researchers feel equally comfortable, and where scientists and storytellers can share their valuable data and teachings.

We’ve recently purchased a property in Tofino which will be our future, permanent home.

Learn more about our recent community engagement and read our Q&A here

If you support our goal and would like to contribute your skills or resources to help us achieve it, please contact CBT Executive Director Rebecca Hurwitz.

Meet the Architects

We welcomed Tracey and Asher of MOTIV Architects to the Clayoquot Biosphere Centre project team in March. MOTIV Architects is an intentionally community-focused design practice, with a studio based in Vancouver and projects across British Columbia and Alberta. 

They have initiated a community consultation process and their study of the site, the community, and our spatial needs. Design iterations and further graphic exploration of what the new Biosphere Centre will look like will be developed over the coming months - culminating in a rezoning application to the District of Tofino.

Sustainability Targets

The project team continues to articulate and define sustainability targets for the Biosphere Centre that align with the vision and values of the CBT. We aim for a balance of environmental, economic, social and cultural targets that reflect our region. 

A sample of goals for the Biosphere Centre include:

  • Balancing energy performance with simplified design of the systems (operational).
  • Achieving a robust procurement policy - offering local economic and social benefits through construction and operations. 
  • Respecting Nuu-chah-nulth culture and ways of building. 
  • Providing generational connection - allowing stories and knowledge to be passed on.

Planned Uses

The planned uses within the new Biosphere Centre include:

  • Office and meeting space for the CBT.
  • A community gathering room, an elders’ room.
  • A teaching kitchen for food preservation programming.
  • A residential component and necessary support service space for these programs, including on-site parking. 

Community Collaboration

Engagement sessions were held with the CBT Board and with CBT stakeholders March 12 and 13th. These sessions asked participants to actively engage in a discussion of: the characteristics of the site; the spatial relationship of the different uses planned as part of the building; the form and character of the community meeting space; opportunities for innovation and collaboration; as well as the relationship of indoors to outdoors.

Some ideas that came out of these sessions included:

  • The community meeting space as a destination and a direct response to community need - achieving the most light and views from all sides with exterior space adjacent to it
  • A flexible entrance and reception area that can receive visitors from Campbell Avenue (pedestrian access) and from Olsen Rd (car access)
  • Optimizing natural light and ventilation
  • Utilization of rainwater for use as greywater as part of a water management strategy.

Biosphere Centre Timeline

2020 - CBT initiates community engagement and concept design for the Biosphere Centre.

2019 - CBT purchases 301 Olsen Road to be the future home of the Biosphere Centre.

2018 - CBT launches the Biosphere Centre Endowment Fund and welcomes support from a small group of dedicated donors.

2017 - CBT continues to search for a central location that is a match for its vision and principles.

2015 - CBT explores the social enterprise model and develops a business case; Location analysis of multiple site options conducted.

2014 - CBT Board sets the vision for the Biosphere Centre grounded in Nuu-chah-nulth principles; Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations invites the CBT to continue to situate the Biosphere Centre in Tla-o-qui-aht Territory, in the heart of the Biosphere Region and to continue to serve all communities in the region from this central location. This invitation was witnessed by Chief Anne Mack of Toquaht Nation, as well as Violet Clark representative of Ahousaht Nation.

2012 - CBT invites community input to the Biosphere Centre concept and considers different models for its future home

2008 - CBT Board sets Biosphere Centre as one of three core priorities to be achieved over the next 10-20 years

Pre-2008 - Through the late 90’s and 2000’s, multiple local organizations express interest in building an environmental research and education centre linked to the UNESCO Biosphere designation (2000).