Dwarfed by the massive cruise ships which frequent the adjacent waters, the Nanaimo Cruise Ship Terminal is an example of Canada’s continued sustainable ingenuity and local pride. Nanaimo designers, Checkwitch Poiron Architects, teamed with local builders and artists to make this building a masterpiece for their small town in British Columbia. The end result was an award-winning building with a large reception hall, offices for the port authority, and a beautiful site.
The terminal was constructed on a reclaimed site from an old wood storage business. Wood has always been the lifeblood of this region and thus the designers innately honored this. The building displays a massive structure of curved glulam columns and beams, wood screens, and stratified timber panels. The large glass walls open to the ocean and allow for both panoramic views of the harbor and wonderfully artistic views of the wood structure within the building. Any visitor can see that Checkwitch Poiron Architects’ vision resembles that of a massive hull of an old boat.
Outside of the sustainable use of local materials for the building, the design also employed passive solar strategies in order to heat the massive hall. The natural stone floor within the building is warmed during the day and the heat radiates through the air until it is exhausted in the ceiling. Another sustainable method used to emphasize the designers’ passion for the environment was the design of a native garden and linear water feature outside of the main hall.
Not only was Checkwitch Poiron Architects able to design an environmentally responsible piece of architecture for the community of Nanaimo, but they were also able to be economically responsible by finishing the design and construction in 12 months. Checkwitch Poiron Architects pride themselves at working very closely with the construction teams for all of their projects and this was no exception. The Nanaimo Port Authority benefited greatly from the great managment supplied by these architects.
The Nanaimo Cruise Ship Terminal continues to win awards after having been completed over a year ago. The most recent award was for the Best Commercial Building of 2012 by the BC Wood Council.
Images courtesy Checkwitch Poiron Architects