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Osoyoos, Canadá | Centro Cultural Nk’Mip Desert | HBBH Architects


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Centro Cultural Nk’Mip Desert

arquitectura: Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden architects + urbanistes
localização: Osoyoos, Canadá
responsável: Bruce Haden
arquitectoprincipal: Brady Dunlop
colaboradores: Norm Hotson, Stephanie Forsythe, Tina Hubert, Julie Bogdanowicza
ano de projecto: 2006
área do terreno: 1,600 acre
áreaconstruída: 1.115,00 m²
estrutura: Equilibrium Consulting Inc.
construtor: Greyback Construction
arquitectura paisagista: Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg
cliente: Osoyoos Indian Band
fotografia: Nic Lehoux photography

The Nk’Mip Desert Culture Centre is located in the most endangered landscape in Canada. Its design is a specific and sustainable response to the building’s unique con­text - the spectacular Canadian desert found south of the OkanaganValley in Osoyoos, British Columbia. This 1,600-acre parcel of land, belonging to the Osoyoos Indian Band is the largest intact remnant of this unique habitat in Canada.

The building features indoor and outdoor exhibits that honour the cultural history of the Band and are designed to be an extension of the remarkable site. The desert landscape flows over the building’s green roof and is held back by the largest rammed-earth wall in Canada. The partially submerged building is sited very specifically to focus the visitor’s eye away from the encroaching development of Osoyoos, with the height of the wall set to create a layered view of the desert, receding to the riparian landscape and the mountains in the distance. The project’s ambitious approach towards sustainable design also includes the use of bluestain pine, a habitable green roof, inslab radiant cooling and heating, low flow fixtures, waterless urinals and facilities for the Band’s award-winning rattlesnake research project.

2007 Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC, Inspirational Leadership Award
2007 RAIC Award of Excellence, Innovation in Architecture
2007 AIBC Lieutenant Governor of BC Medal
2007 Canadian Wood CouncilBC, Wood Design Green Award
2007 BC Ready-Mix Concrete Association Award



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The Architecture
The Nk.Mip Desert Cultural Centre is an architectural marvel sensitively constructed into a hillside.
Through its unique design and use of local building materials, it gives a clear sense of the native people’s connection to the land.
Designed by Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden Architects, the firm behind the internationally acclaimed redevelopment of GranvilleIsland and the Kelowna Rotary Centre for the Arts, the centre is a natural extension of the surrounding environment. Its green roof and outdoor sculptures reflect the local landscape of desert and vineyard. But perhaps no single feature more strongly represents the Nk.Mip.s role as stewards of the land than the Wall of Discovery.

What is the Wall of Discovery?
The Wall of Discovery . constructed of rammed earth and marked by a series of icons symbolising the Okanagan culture . greets visitors as they approach the interpretive centre. At its base, water flows along a gravel channel into a small pool.

Why was rammed earth used?
The Wall of Discovery was built by Meror Krayenhoff.s award-winning, Salt Spring Island-based firm, Terra Firma Builders. In using rammed earth to create undulating layers of gentle, earthy colours and variations in texture, Krayenhoff was able to craft a landmark that is unique, natural, and stunning.
While the rammed earth technique is not traditional to the Nk.Mip, it is an ancient, environmentally sensitive building method that feels perfectly at home on Nk.Mip land.
In fact, the rammed earth wall is an apt metaphor for the Nk.Mip people themselves. Rooted in tradition, rammed earth construction has easily adapted to modern use. Likewise, the Osoyoos Indian Band continues to change . very successfully . with the times. While traditions and heritage play an important part in their daily lives, improvements and modernization are fully embraced.

What is the history of the rammed earth technique?
Though new to Canada, rammed earth is one of the oldest construction methods in the world. It has been the standard in house construction in southern Europe and the Middle East since biblical times . and was even used to construct the Great Wall of China. Today, rammed earth remains a basic building material throughout much of the world.

How is it used?
Ordinary dirt is mixed with water, a small amount of cement, and pigment. The mixture is put into forms, then layer upon layer is pummeled and pounded until it morphs into a material as hard and durable as concrete. When the forms are removed, beautiful, solid earth walls remain.

What are its benefits?
Rammed earth is environmentally friendly, energy-efficient, and non-toxic. Because its main ingredient is simple dirt, it conserves other, more precious resources, such as wood. Rammed earth walls help maintain stable interior temperatures; they are strong, durable, weather-resistant, and chemical- and maintenance-free.


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