A jagged form dramatically rises from one of the world’s richest dinosaur bone beds—a fertile basin along Pipestone Creek near Wembley, Alberta in Western Canada. This paleontologist hotspot is now the site of the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, a stunning triangulated structure that weaves sustainable design into its Rocky Mountains-inspired form. Designed by Toronto-based Teeple Architects, the dinosaur museum was built from beetle-kill pine and triple-glazing for a sustainable building envelope designed to meet LEED Silver standards.
Set on a 10-acre complex, the world-class Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum serves as an international institution for experiential learning dedicated to Alberta’s paleontological heritage and welcomes visitors of all ages to interact and learn from its research, programming, and exhibitions. The architects designed the museum’s striking form using Rhino to 3D model the custom laminated plywood nodes and to deconstruct them into parts for CNC milling. Much of the timber skeleton is made from locally sourced beetle-kill pine that would have otherwise been thrown away. The pivoted A-frame follows a barn-like post-and-beam structure and is lined in perforated acoustic wood finishes. A zinc roof tops the building and angular triple-glazed windows open the building up to natural light.
The museum welcomes visitors with the re-erected skeleton of a native Pachyrhinosaurus Lakustai dinosaur at the entrance. In addition to the gallery spaces, the museum includes two classrooms, the 60-seat Aykroyd Family Theater, research and collection areas, the Dine-O-Saur restaurant, the Kaleidosaur gift shop, an outdoor discovery fossil walk, and a large outdoor playground. The entire building is heated and cooled by a displacement ventilation system located beneath the concrete floor. Though the museum is designed to LEED Silver standards, the County of Grande Prairie did not seek certification for budgetary reasons.
Images via Tom Arban