Lubor Trubka Associates design health facility utilising the 'healing properties of wood'
This facility, completed in October of 2007, was conceived as a celebration of the Tseshaht culture, honoring their historical values and inspiring a sense of pride within the community. The exposed wood of the structural system, detailing and architectural vocabulary, was designed to express the Tseshahts respect for nature, cultural heritage and their historical reverence for wood utilised in their daily lives.
The site, a large granite bluff above the salmon-spawning river, offered an opportunity for a nature-preserving solution. Instead of rock blasting and massive excavations, the building design respects the existing topography, as an elevated wood structure cantilevering over the river’s edge.
The structure is a combination of post-and-beam frames infilled with glazing and a limited amount of strategically placed shear walls, utilising engineered wood products and a variety of natural lumber products harvested by Tseshaht from their own forests. This near to 'mill work' design concept that exposes every element of the structure as an architectural feature required precision pre-manufacturing of each element, which was done on site before its assembly and was predominantly carried out by Tseshaht Tribe members.
Expressing the wood structure throughout the building required special care to conceal the mechanical and electrical systems. The functionality and the transfer of significant cultural values was accomplished in close collaboration with all employees of the facility through a series of design ‘charrettes’. Floating above the river, the building has become an icon for the Tseshaht, welcoming visitors as they enter the community.