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The Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre is designed to be a particular and sustainable response to the construction's distinctive context-the strange Canadian desert present in the South Okanagan Valley in Osoyoos, British Columbia. Sited adjoining to a remainder of the Great Basin Desert is a component of a bigger 200-acre master plan.
Nk'Mip is the first of several new B.C. aboriginal centres, and a component of a rising pattern to discover the expressive possible of structure to deliver the rich past and the remodeling way forward for aboriginal tradition. The sensible causes behind this architectural exploration grow out of provincial management -a most desirable whose efforts to strengthen aboriginal family members have resulted in adjustments to the treaty course of-in addition to a shift in the regulatory setting governing the varieties of constructions approved on reserve land.
The constructing options indoor and out of doors shows that remember the tradition and the historical past of the band, and is designed to be an extension of the outstanding site, and refects the band's role as stewards of the land.
The desert landscape fows over the building's green roof, held back by a rammed earth wall. The partially submerged building is sited very specifcally to focus the visitor's eye away from the encroaching development of Osoyoos to the west, with the height of the wall set to create a layered view of the desert rising up in the middle ground, receding to the riparian landscape adjacent, and the mountains in the distance.
The attenuated entry sequence from the parking area moves visitors through a series of nested concrete walls up to an entry plaza at the end of the rammed earth wall. The plaza-used for collecting large groups, and signage about events of the day-leads along a low concrete wall that separates the original desert landscape and the building.
Entry into the interpretive centre occurs at the midpoint of the gently arcing wall. Inside, a theatre and “black box” exhibition space present information about the band and its historical relationship with the land. The round volume of the “pit house” at the centre of the exhibition space invokes the experience of conversation around a fre.
Architects: Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden architects + urbanistes
Principal in charge: Bruce Haden
Project Architect: Brady Dunlop
Project Team: Norm Hotson, Stephanie Forsythe, Tina Hubert, Julie Bogdanowicza
Site Area: 1,600 acre
Constructed Area: 1,115 sqm
Materials: Rammed Earth, Concrete, Bluestain Pine Cladding
Structural Engineering: Equilibrium Consulting Inc.
Contractor: Greyback Construction
Landscape Architecture: Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg
Client: Osoyoos Indian Band Rammed Earth Wall
Sub Contractor: Terra Firma Builders Ltd.
Photographs: Nic Lehoux Photography
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