4584 Blackcomb Way
Whistler, British Columbia
Certifications & Awards
- LEED® Gold
- 2009 Canadian Wood Council - Western Red Cedar Award, non residential
- Client: Squamish Nation, North Vancouver and Lil’wat Nation, Mount Currie
- Design Architect: Alfred Waugh Architect
- Architect: Toby Russell Buckwell + Partners Architects
- Structural Engineer: Equilibrium Consulting Inc.
- Mechanical Engineer: Stantec
- Electrical Engineer: Acumen Engineering
- Civil Engineer: CJ Anderson Civil Engineering Inc.
- Landscape Architect: Philips Wuori Long Inc
- Construction Manager: Newhaven Construction
KEY SUSTAINABILITY FEATURES
- Site-sensitive design: minimized site disturbance and emphasis on natural assets
- Water and energy efficiency
- Cultural significance: Show-casing cultural traditions of the Squamish and Lil’Wat First Nations
- Capacity building: employment and leadership training for First Nations
Embodying the form, materials and scale of local First Nations traditional architecture, the Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre showcases the history and cultures of the Squamish and Lil’Wat First Nations, whose traditional territories overlap in the Whistler area. The design of the Centre reflects their mutual respect, commitment to collaboration and a deep-rooted environmental ethic.
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Following the sloping terrain, construction of the building left much of the vegetated area undisturbed, which reduced the need for blasting and site excavation. Symbolizing a gateway into the forest, the building reminds visitors of the critical role of forest resources and responsible land stewardship in creating and maintaining sustainable Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities along British Columbia’s west coast. The landscape is planted with indigenous plant species, and hard-paved areas employ permeable surfaces to facilitate the infiltration of rainwater. Rainwater infiltration enhances water quality by mimicking the natural hydrology of a forest ecosystem and helping to protect aquatic habitat from excessive erosion.
A green roof covering approximately twenty percent of the main building was planted with native species to help replace the vegetation displaced by the building. The main roof has been prepared for planting at a later date, subject to additional funding. The exterior of the building is clad in locally sourced ledgestone and prefabricated cedar siding panels. The interior construction features Douglas Fir columns and beams.
This LEED Gold certified project includes radiant floor heating as well as low-emissivity (low-e) glazing that minimizes the effects of direct sunlight by reflecting radiant infrared (heat) energy while letting visible light pass. Natural ventilation for the spring and fall is provided with operable windows. Water conservation is maximized through dual-flush toilets and moisture monitors in planted areas. Recycled materials that were used throughout include steel for reinforcing rods and fly ash in concrete as a cement replacement.
COMMUNITY & ECONOMY
The building is a contemporary reinterpretation of the traditional longhouses of the Squamish peoples and the pithouses (Istken) of the Lil’Wat people. Its design, including the use of local wood with copper accents, embodies the First Nations’ traditional cultural and spiritual connection to the land and their desire to carry it forward into the twenty-first century. Rather than conceiving a Cultural Centre that did little more than outline historical facts, the Squamish and Lil’Wat First Nations wanted to describe their way of life through displays and live demonstrations of their art and cultural traditions. In order to do so, the communities developed training programs to teach interested members traditional skills, simultaneously providing jobs, leadership training and resurgence in personal pride in members of both Nations.
As a green building designed to showcase the natural and cultural assets of local First Nations to the world, the Squamish and Lil’Wat Cultural Centre not only helps to preserve the historical and cultural roots of these First Nations; it also fosters cross-cultural understanding and cooperation.
“Green” technologies and products employed in the development of this project include the following:
- Post and beam frame of glulam and solid sawn lumber by Western Archrib (Western Canada) http://www.westernarchrib.com
- Roof panels using Icynene Insulation by System Newhaven Construction (North Vancouver) http://www.newhaven.ca
- Broda Pro-tek-tor Natural Oil wood finish stains on cedar by CBR Products (Vancouver and Quebec) http://www.cbrproducts.com
- Laing, Melissa (Resort Municipality of Whistler). 2010. Email communication.
- McIntyre, Katherine. 2008. “Rocky Mountain Green: Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre Cuts a Green Swath in British Columbia. Legacy Magazine (November). Accessed at: http://onlinelegacy.org/2008/11/rocky-mountain-green-squamish-lilwat-cultural-centre-cuts-a-green-swath-in-british-columbia/
- Squamish and Lil’Wat Cultural Centre. 2008. The Building. Accessed at: http://www.slcc.ca/about-us/the-building
- Taggart, Jim. 2009. “New building based on traditions, and modern application of LEED principles.” Sustainable Architecture & Building Magazine blog (April). Accessed at: http://www.sabmagazine.com/blog/2009/04/10/squamish/
- Vance, Mike (Resort Municipality of Whistler). 2010. Pers. communication.