Dedicated to sustainable,
high performance building

DOIG RIVER Cultural Centre

Doig River First Nation, BC

Institutional (Small) Award

Jury Comment: A striking, high-performance centrepiece for a remote First Nations community. The flexible spaces, beautiful detailing and high-quality prefabricated construction will ensure a diversity of community uses and a long, cost-effective service life. This approach could be easily transferred to other remote locations. 

This is the first Passive House-certified community building to be completed on First Nations land. The main level comprises 250m² of community-oriented space with a mezzanine for additional seating. The lower level includes a daycare and an Elders lounge. This combination of uses promotes inter-generational interaction and provides a safe and healthy space for the entire community.

The structure is located close to the existing community administration building, so creating a civic centre. In such a small and remote community, a central gathering place helps establish a critical mass for community functions and also minimizes the need for major infrastructure expansion.

Nestled into the slope in a grove of birch and aspen trees, the building offers a gesture of welcome at the entrance to the community. The slope also facilitates grade access to both levels, eliminating the need for an elevator or wheelchair lift.

The choice of building form and orientation was critical, with a large south-facing roof and extensive glazing required to maximize winter solar heat gain and optimize PV panel exposure. The compact multi-level organization minimizes the building footprint, reduces the surface-to-volume ratio, and lessens the environmental impact of the building on the site.

The structure combines site-built and prefabricated components, thus increasing quality and precision. The primary structural system comprises glulam arches with prefabricated panels spanning between them. The 2×8 panels arrived on site with insulation already installed, then an additional 300mm of insulation was added around the entire perimeter of the building.

The primary structural system comprises glulam arches by Western Archrib with prefabricated insulated panels spanning between them.

Project Credits

  • Architect  Iredale Architecture
  • Owner / Developer  Doig River First Nation
  • General Contractor  Erik Olofsson Construction Inc.
  • Landscape Architect  Urban Systems
  • Civil Engineer  Urban Systems
  • Electrical Engineer  EDG Corporation
  • Mechanical Engineer  Rocky Point Engineering Ltd.
  • Structural engineer  Equilibrium Consulting Inc.
  • Passive House Consultant  RDH Building Science
  • Passive House Certifier  Edsco
  • Geotechnical Engineer  Golder Associates
  • Photos  Ema Peter