The Aboriginal Learning & Cultural Centre, at Royal Roads University, designed by McFarland Marceau Architects and built by Kinetic Construction, is situated at a tranquil spot on the edge of Esquimalt Lagoon, with delightful views in every direction.
The design has converted a wood frame row boat storage building into a vibrant multi-purpose space which will be a centre for aboriginal and other university events, including a lounge, workshop and seminar space in an inspirational setting.
The interior event space enjoys multiple openings to patio event space, with future glazed canopies planned, to extend the useable space even in inclement weather.
The original building was one large open space, whereas the conversion required some division into smaller spaces, as well as a lounge area, washrooms and a galley kitchen.
True to the nature of the open original structure, the design is conceived so that where space is divided, walls are expressed as small fenced/screened enclosures within one large space.
The fenced/screened esthetic around rooms is created by reclaimed fir slat walls that extend to door height, with frameless glazing above, to give a light, airy open feel to the space. This creates privacy walls that appear as lightweight door height screens that do not touch the ceiling.
This sense of a single volume maintains the integrity of the original space, and speaks to the traditional aboriginal “plank house” where many activities could occur in one larger space.
The reclaimed fir was salvaged from a dismantled Comox airport building, and was planed and wire-brush to a deep grain finish, to express and enhance the texture of the fir grain, by Canadian Bavarian Lumber Mill.
Reclaimed fir was used for all interior trims and the fir slat walls.
Larger reclaimed fir pieces were used for all the interior structural heavy timber framing around window & door openings, as well as the stair treads.
Our Broda Pro-Thane Ultra Rich Floor Stair Gloss tinted with a powdered pigment called Brou de Noix followed by a Satin top coat was used on all the reclaimed Fir. The Brou de Noix was utilized to kill the “yellowing” that often occurs with oil modified urethane, especially on Fir, as the architect wanted to maintain as natural a look as possible.