The First Nations community has a new place to gather and celebrate in their beautiful, new center at the University of Victoria, B.C. Christened the 'First People's House', the structure designed by Alfred Waugh Architects is a post and beam construction inspired by traditional Coast Salish longhouses. Clad in salvaged western red cedar and partially topped with a green roof, the new center provides educational space, a ceremonial hall, offices and a student union catering to the native students - or "Canada's First Peoples" - at the university. Moreover, the community center and student hall is already targeting LEED Gold certification.
The new 12,500 sq ft multi-purpose education facility opened in January of 2010 and is centrally located on the campus. Alfred Waugh, of Chipweyan descent, was tasked with designing a facility that would honor the identity and pride of native students while providing space for programs centered on indigenous culture. Inside the building contains space for a student union, elders lounges, study areas, classrooms and a ceremonial spaces. The large ceremonial room is built in the Coast Salish Long House design and is used for ceremonies, special events and graduations, and can accommodate 200 people.
Designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, natural sunlight and ventilation, natural and local materials, and traditional architecture are dominant in the design. The large sloping roof allows rain water to drain into a stormwater retention pond, while a lower roof is planted with native grasses. Salvaged western red cedar clads the exterior, and woven cedar panels line the hall walls, which were inspired by the bull rush mats traditionally found in long house interiors. Two carved cedar posts sit at the entrance to welcome visitors to the center.
Images ©Nic Lehoux