The Mont-Tremblant National Park (Quebec, Canada) has opened its Discovery Centre – a building designed by Smith Vigeant architects and aimed at showcasing wood as a primary material. The practice, founded in 1992, have an ethos bedded in sustainability that is borne out in the Discovery Centre. The centre was the The Prize-Winner Laureate of the 4th edition of the “Prix d’excellence CECOBOIS 2014” in the Interior Design category.
The Discovery Centre has a feeling of a modern fairy tale house hidden away in the woods. It has been designed to integrate into its surroundings and in so doing be as sensitive to them as possible. To achieve this aim, a wide variety of local wood species have been used on both the exterior and interior, reflecting the site’s richness in textures and colours, while giving the building durability and resistance.
More literal reflection is found in the building's mirrored, angled panels that adorn one end. These reflect back oblique images of the surrounding trees thereby seemingly camouflaging the structure further - making it part of its natural surroundings.
The building is formed by a continuous band of rustic wood that unfolds into walls, a roof and a floor sheltered by a large canopy. Given its pristine location in the heart of nature, the use of wood as the primary material facilitated the harmonious insertion of the building into the unspoiled setting.
The Discovery Centre acts as starting point to explore the vast national park and is located on the edge of Lac Monroe. It comprises three distinct zones: an amphitheatre, a service centre (which includes rental of winter sports equipment), and a discovery centre. There is also a café and terrace.
Translated jury’s comment: “The illuminated spaces offer an interesting play of volumes, both interior and exterior. The unique building form awakes the senses and invites it to be discovered. The use of abundant and diverse wood types creates warm and welcoming interior spaces.”
Name of project: Centre de découverte du parc national du Mont-Tremblant
Location: Mont-Tremblant National Park, (QC) Canada
Name of client: SÉPAQ
Architects/designers: Smith Vigeant architectes
Architect in charge: Daniel Smith, architect, OAQ, LEED®PA
Design Team: Daniel Smith, Anik Malderis, Julien Gouin-Charbonneau, Karine Renaud,Cindy Neveu, Stéphan Vigeant
Engineers: CLA experts-conseils & Martin Roy et associates
Landscape Architects: VLAN
Contractor: CRT Construction Inc.
Lighting Design: Smith Vigeant architects, Martin Roy et associates, EDP inc
Project size: 600 sq m
Cost: 2.8M CA$
Date of completion: 08/2014
Photographer: Stéphane Brugger