Kwantlen Xthum: First Nations Meeting Place at University Scoops Design Awards

Designing a space to serve multiple functions can be a challenge. British Columbia design studio Public had to learn about a whole new range of uses for Xthum, at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, where the Kwantlen, Semiahmoo, Tsawwassen and Katzie Nations needed a space for celebrating, feasting, storytelling, counselling, advising, studying, and relaxing. How do you fit that all in?

The architects explain:

Our process started with a search for solutions to the project's biggest constraint: the program was too big for the 25'x30' space provided. Our solution anchored flexible zones of occupation around a fixed kitchen and fireplace element. Defining these zones is a ceiling/wall-scape that obscures references to the original former classroom.

Cultural differences are reflected in the design:

We felt a contemporary construction and fabrication methodology would resonate with students who are nomadic by nature: studying at all hours, eating when convenient rather than in traditional meal times, and technology enabled.

That sounds pretty much like any university student, but OK....

Xthum is a Hul'qumi'num word meaning basket and drum. The project has received a Canadian Wood Council BC Wood Design Award, Wood Works 2010 and AIBC Innovation Award 2010, for showing another innovative and elegant way to use a renewable resource.

More at Public
More Wood Design:
Turning Beetle-Infested Wood to Good (Design) Use
House for Booklovers is an Off-Grid Wood Wonder

Tags: Architects


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