Location:                  Barkerville, BC
Concept Design:    April 2019
Building Area:        325sm (3,500sft)

The Barkerville Townsite is a national historic site in central British Columbia preserving the memory of the gold rush era in the 1800s. Chinese as well as Indigenous citizens contributed to the economy and culture during boom times. The Chinese history is preserved through the physical reality of their merchant buildings at the end of the village, however, there is no physical presence of the Lhtako Dene people that occupied the region thousands of years before the Europeans.

The Barkerville Indigenous Cultural Centre will fill this gap and serve as a symbol of reconciliation completing the thread of history honouring the First Peoples of this Region. The 3,500sft centre modest in size will rise out of the landscape at the entrance to the townsite. It’s form and structure inspired by the 12 pole pit houses used by the the Lhtako People for over 5000 years.

The program revolved around a central gathering place serving many needed functions for both the Lhtako people as well as the historic townsite. It will host ceremonies, feasts, seminars, and community events. A small exhibit space, gift shop, kitchen, office, storage space and washrooms will support the main gathering space. The facility will have an entry plaza with easy access to parking and bus tours. A small south facing kitchen plaza is sheltered between the mound building and the adjacent shamrock hill.

The facility will be fully accessible both inside and outside with a gently sloping circular ramp leading visitors up the planted roof to an overlook on the roof. A rotating sculptural wind cowling for natural ventilation and a skylight crown the apex of the structure. The skylight casts natural light onto a four pole suspended light aperture inside, enveloped in translucent fabric. This structure honours the four central poles of the historic pit house without sacrificing the multi-functional requirements for the space. The poles support a steel ring with woven metal and organic light fixture beads inspired by the dream catcher. This is a spiritual space embodied by the meaning from the Lhtako Dene people.

Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Design Team
Alfred Waugh, Monika Kolon, Henry Dyck