Buffalo Paddock – New Staff Housing. FAQ.

1. Why we are building in this way?

“Using this modular-building approach offers numerous benefits over conventional wood construction,” explains Larkin O’Connor, Development Manager of CRMR. “There is a faster schedule, off-site construction means less disruption to the town and surrounding neighbours, the steel building is non-combustible, which is far safer in a forested area, and lastly the modular construction gives a far better sound insulation between the suites, making them much quieter for the residents living in the units.”

“In addition, providing modern units for our staff, that are safe and modern will assist in recruiting and retaining staff,” adds Cathy Kerr, Director of Human Resources. “Vacancy in the Banff area is extremely low, so we are excited to be able to provide our staff – new and long-term – a modern place to stay while working at Buffalo Mountain Lodge in Banff.”


Buffalo Paddock - New Staff Housing Banff

2.  Our commitment to reducing disruption in the national park?

“As a business operating in the National Parks, environmental sustainability and reduction of environmental impact was top of mind when looking to build our new staff housing project, says O’Connor”

Building with a modular approach reduces the environmental footprint on the build site, in the greater area as well as reduces material waste and improved disposal and recycling. The units will arrive on site with 80% of the work on them complete, thus the construction activity and time frame is significantly reduced and less disruptive to the community surrounding the build site. With the units being built in a factory in Calgary, there is significantly less car and truck traffic, noise, pollution and quality of life impact in general areas where regular construction occurs.

Furthermore, there is a reduced waste of materials when building in a factory and waste that does occur is readily recycled or disposed of properly.

3. Why using recycled shipping containers is important from an environmental sustainability standpoint?

By using upcycled shipping containers as the building structural framework, CRMR will have the most sustainable, environmentally safe and ‘green’ development for fast deployment, creating a well-designed, durable solution with reduced longer-term operating costs due to the improved thermal performance. Shipping containers are inherently durable, portable and sustainable, by their nature they are the ideal building block that offers many environmental benefits. Upcycled shipping containers provide a high level of recycled content for the building, and also give them a higher purpose. The modules are manufactured in a controlled factory environment, where sustainable efficient factory production techniques are employed including reduced construction waste by recycling materials and controlling inventory.

4. How many units in the building?

There are 22 units in Buffalo Paddock. Each unit features a fully furnished and outfitted kitchen, as well as a furnished living space. The design is modern and bright featuring white walls and white tile throughout the units, with a colourful feature wall added to each unit.

  • 2 studios with balconies overlooking Banff Ave and Cascade Mountain
  • 4 units with two separate bedrooms, shared kitchen, bathroom and common area.
  • 16 units with four separate bedrooms, shared kitchen, bathroom and common area.
  • Underneath the building there are 24 parking stalls as well as a Bike Storage Locker.

Systemic Architecture Inc., the project architect, paid particular attention to the design of the four bedroom units.  These units were designed by arraying four private bedrooms around a kitchen and communal space, ensuring that natural light is able to reach into each room.   The goal of this design was to balance common activities for residents with the need for privacy within individual bedrooms.  Systemic worked closely with CRMR to ensure that the unit design was a good fit for its staff, and that the design promoted positive and safe social interactions

5. What is unique about this building?

“From both the outside and inside of the building, you would never know that it is made from recycled shipping containers, due its interior and exterior design,” says Andrew Weddell, Assistant Development Manager.

The development includes two three-storey apartment buildings that blend into the environment, with extensive sustainable design features. The project features a landscaped central courtyard and front setback area, as well as extensive community amenity space.

“Though the building is constructed using modular components it adheres to the Town of Banff’s Design Guidelines,” notes James M. Clark, Principal, Systemic Architecture. “These guidelines require a high degree of timber frame detailing and other elements that create a mountain architecture aesthetic.”

Systemic Architecture was able to use extensive timber and stone detailing outboard of the shipping containers to provide a finished look to the building that is appropriate for its context.  The building façade that faces onto Banff avenue features two prominent gables that are finished with heavy timber rafter ends and other timber details.   The project also features two timber frame stairs that access the upper floors of the project, positioned at each end of the central courtyard.

The landscaping features a variety of different trees, shrubs and perennials such as white spruce, larch trees, silver birch, trembling aspen, Artic fire dogwood, creeping juniper, feather reed grass and snowberry plants.

6. Why did we choose to work with Ladacor?

“As a family company, we need to find innovative solutions to problems, such as building a new staff housing project in a National Park,” says O’Connor. “Being able to complete a majority of the build in Calgary, as compared to in Banff was a significant factor in the decision due to reduced environmental impact, reduction in time of the build, minimization of delays due to weather, and ultimately cost savings. We are incredibly excited to partner with them on this project, as finding innovative solutions is inherent in both company’s cultures.”

7. What has Ladacor enjoyed about working with CRMR?

As a company that offers a new and innovative technology to the established construction industry, Ladacor is excited to be working with CRMR as they are a group that is open to innovation, and to embrace the benefits associated with modular construction. CRMR are the early adopters that will benefit from a new technology that can help combat rising costs, enhance quality and mitigate risk. “We believe the modular process will be a game changer for our valued development partner, CRMR, especially in the Banff National Park where labor shortages and expensive accommodation options can be a challenge to a timely schedule,” said Darrell Nimchuk, Ladacor President. “we are part of a movement that will revolutionize the construction industry and CRMR as our valued development partner will be the first to realise the benefits of container-based modular construction as it continues to gain acceptance and popularity”