Québec’s Chibougamau-Chapais airport serves a large territory that includes the Chibougamau, Chapais and Oujé-Bougoumou communities. With growing passenger traffic, the airport hired EVOQ and ARTCAD to design a new sustainable terminal building featuring cross-laminated timber (CLT).

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The exterior of an airport made using CLT.

Chibougamau-Chapais airport is used for air travel, freight, medical evacuations and even forest firefighting operations. Inside, the concourse serves as a hub for passengers and connects all terminal functions and services. Considering these functions, the new project needed to not only meet the latest renewable energy standards but also continue hosting services during construction.

Related: The preservation and restoration of Quebec’s Grand Théâtre

The exterior of an airport.

The new building consists of two low structures on either side of a glazed, single-pitch roof concourse. Its exterior façade features the airport’s name in Cree and French. Additionally, the façade features artwork by Emmanuelle Gendron integrated into the transparency of the timber curtain walls. These works pay homage to the Eeyou Istchee region. A committee that included representatives from the Chibougamau, Chapais, and Oujé-Bougoumou communities specifically selected Gendron’s work.

An airport terminal with wood features.

The terminal highlights its proximity to the boreal forest by using locally produced wood and high-performance products such as glulam and CLT structural slabs. Timber curtain walls surround the waiting area on three sides. Meanwhile, a raised roof tops the space to create a south-facing clerestory.

An airport terminal with wood features.

Engineered wood and steel components make up the roof structure. The mixed structural system allows for large interior spaces for public use. The system also allows for a reduced roof thickness to reduce material waste while shading the interior with generous overhangs. The curtain walls let in natural light and help with energy efficiency, while also contributing to structural bracing. The clerestory acts as a load-bearing axis, which removes the need for a structural beam.

An airport lounge area with wood features.

As the architects explained in a press release, “This minimalist, highly efficient approach underlines the project’s core design principles: transparency, lightness, comfort, and functionality.”

+ EVOQ Architecture

+ ARTCAD

Photography by Maxime Brouillet