PLANT led a team to create a master plan for rare Charitable Research Reserve (raresites.org) – an environmentally sensitive 1000-acre site in Cambridge Ontario along the Grand River. The plan was to provide a structure for the interpretive public trail system, for research and education functions, for repurposing heritage buildings, and to add a new interpretative centre. The masterplan determined that the existing 1840s Slit Barn and Farmhouse alone had the capacity to act as the hub for education and as a trailhead for exploring the site, as well as hosting the dissemination and exchange of ideas between the public, researchers and rare.
The farmhouse is now the Resource House with classrooms and offices/overnight space for researchers, and public washrooms, while the 1840’s stone Slit Barn is a welcome centre, event space and three season exhibit space. The work included adaptive reuse and restoration of both the buildings, an addition for new public washrooms, a ground-source heat pump, bio-filter sewage handling, and grounds development. The gravel drop-off and parking area have been carefully planned to conserve the surrounding wetlands, woodlots, and animal habitats. The project adapted both buildings for accessibility and is AODA compliant.