Robina Thomas, co-chair of the First Peoples House Advisory Council and Trevor Good, Indigenous Student Support Coordinator, stand at the entrance to First Peoples House. Behind them is one of two welcome posts carved by artist Doug Lafortune of the Tsawout First Nation.
Alfred Waugh, Chipweyan (Fond du lac Band), of Alfred Waugh Architect
of Vancouver, was selected as the prime consultant for the project.
Raised in Yellowknife, NWT, Mr. Waugh employs three Aboriginal
architects in his firm. His mother, of Chipweyan descent, encouraged
him to make a positive contribution to native people. Projects
undertaken by his firm reflect his cultural sensitivity. The
design for the 12,160-square foot structure is based on research
on pre-contact longhouses in Coast Salish territory. The project budget was $7 million, including artwork.
The design of the building is Coast Salish, reflecting the modern
and traditional values of the Coast and Straits Salish peoples.
The design also incorporates influences from the Interior Salish.
Other cultures are represented through their art forms. The
architect drew inspiration from various traditional structures,
and considered the environment, sunlight and ventilation.
The House has two entrances sheltered by a timber canopy. The
main entrance faces east and is framed by two welcoming poles. Two additional poles frame the doorway to the ceremonial
hall. The exterior of the House is clad in wide cedar planks, similar
to those in pre-European Coast Salish longhouses.
The corridor features a gallery of native art and artifacts.
In November 2010, the Western Red Cedar Architectural Design Awards recognized First Peoples House as one of the best Western Red Cedar architectural designs in the world.
is expected to qualify for LEED (Leadership in Energy
and Environmental Design) gold certification. Sustainable features include a green roof, storm retention pond and natural ventilation. The site has been landscaped extensively with native trees and vegetation, including Garry oak and Douglas-fir trees.
- Entry hall
- Ceremonial hall
- Change rooms for dancers
- Elders' lounge
- Classroom for 25 students
- Seminar room
- Computer lab
- Faculty offices
- General office/reception area
- Director and staff, Office of Indigenous Affairs
- Aboriginal Counsellor’s
- Aboriginal Student Advisor’s office
- Native Students’ Union office
- Aboriginal project staff
- Washrooms (male, female and unisex)
- Janitorial room
- Mechanical room
associated with tradition and culture are adjacent to the eastern entrance to the building. Progressing down the
naturally lit corridor, the academic zone starts with classrooms
on one side and offices on the other.
The ceremonial hall is built in the Coast Salish Long
House design. It is used for ceremonies and special events
such as graduation celebrations, and accommodates
200 people. Carved cedar posts stand
outside the hall.
The room has a fireplace and wood bleachers.