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

xthum transformer space image section

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?

xthum transformer space image ceiling

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.

xthum transformer space image interior

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 transformer space image drawing

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

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