patkau architects has designed a private museum in canada, which houses the personal art collection of home-builder and philanthropist michael audain. located in whistler, a resort town north of vancouver, the 56,000 square foot institution traces a visual record of british columbia from the late 18th century to the present day. the audain art museum includes a globally recognized selection of old first nation masks, a collection of emily carr paintings, and works by significant post-war canadian artists as well as internationally regarded contemporary creatives.


all images courtesy of james dow / patkau architects

 

 

the configuration of the audain art museum directly responds to a set of specific determinants, which directly influenced patkau architects’ design. the first requirement was that the building should house both the permanent exhibition from michael audain’s collection as well as wide-ranging temporary exhibits from canada and around the world. the other criteria relate to the geographic location of the site, which, although surrounded by evergreen forest vegetation, is located within a floodplain and receives enormous snowfall each year.


the institution traces a visual record of british columbia from the late 18th century to the present day

 

 

our design responds to these determinants, simply and directly, by projecting a volume of sequential public spaces and galleries into an existing linear void within the surrounding forest,’ explains the design team. ‘it is elevated a full storey above the ground and crowned with a steeply sloped roof, containing administration and back-of-house support functions.’


the museum is clad in a dark metal envelope, which has been designed to recede into the shadows

 

 

the building has been conceived as an extension of the region’s pedestrian thoroughfare, which leads from whistler village, across blackcomb way, to and through the museum and then across the site to fitzsimmons creek park. visitors to the museum are greeted with a sky-lit entry porch that offers two potential routes. from here, guess can either descend to the forest floor and central meadow to continue their passage through the site, or enter into the museum’s lobby and event space.


the building has been conceived as an extension of the region’s pedestrian thoroughfare

 

 

once inside, visitors proceed along a glazed walkway that provides access to the galleries, which contain the permanent collection and then to the spaces that contain temporary exhibits. the deliberately retrained interiors place an emphasis on the museum’s art work, while the natural landscape can be viewed through carefully positioned windows and openings. externally, the museum is clad in a dark metal envelope, which has been designed to recede into the shadows of the surrounding forest.


visitors to the museum are greeted with a sky-lit entry porch


natural timber tones have been used inside the museum


the museum’s lobby and event space


a glazed walkway provides access to the galleries


the institution houses a globally recognized selection of old first nation masks


the deliberately retrained interiors place an emphasis on the museum’s art work


the natural landscape can be viewed through carefully positioned windows


the audain art museum is located in whistler, a resort town north of vancouver

 

 

 

project info:

 

name: audain art museum
location: Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
date: 2012 – 2016
client: Audain Art Museum
size: 56,000 sqf / 5,203 sqm
site selection: september 2012
design start: november 2012
construction start: august 2013
public opening: march 2016

 

architect: patkau architects inc.
project team: john patkau, patricia patkau, david shone, michael thorpe, mike green, marc holland, cam koroluk, dimitri koubatis, tom schroeder, luke stern, peter suter, david zeibin

 

consultants
structural: equilibrium consulting
mechanical/electrical: integral group
lighting: HLB lighting design
civil: creus engineering
landscape: PFS studio / tom barratt
code: LMDG
building envelope: spratt emanuel engineering
floodproofing: kerr wood leidal
geotechnical: geopacific consultants
snow management: mountain resort engineering
signage: gallop varley
museum consultant: lord cultural resources
exhibition design: bricault design

 

construction manager: axiom builders
images: james dow / patkau architects

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