This architectural insertion, tucked deep within the Boreal Forest, truly uncovers a more accessible hot spring facility for people in search of a soothing mineral bath. In Northern Canada, along the Alaskan Highway and between mountains, lies a mineral pool fed by underground water heated deep within the earth, seeping up from the fissures in the fractured bedrock below. Formline Architecture + Urbanism provided an opening into the thick deciduous forest using a quarter mile cedar boardwalk, elevated to protect the precious muskeg marsh purifying the pool. The wooden walkway opens up to a clean sparse red balau deck, cedar clad benches and gentle steps for decent into the free-flowing mineral bath.
Neither electrical nor mechanical infrastructure were allowed on site, as the object was to maintain the peaceful natural air. The change-room was designed and supported by turned bi-pod Douglas fir columns, inspired by the Lean-To Structures used by the Local Dene culture. A simple 4x4 structure encloses the change-rooms that are clad throughout with clear western red cedar. Holes were carved into the walls to serve as a lookout for wandering bears. Semi-translucent lexan panels clad the roof, providing natural light to the change rooms.
The belvedere fully embodies the spirit of place and resembles a masterfully crafted and erected shelter for people to interact and be healed by nature. The beauty lies in its’ ability to co-exist peacefully and respectfully with the surrounding natural and cultural world.
FIRM: Formline Architecture + Urbanism TYPE: Cultural Pavillion YEAR: 2011 TEAM: Alfred Waugh, Lead Architect Matthew Lahey, Architect Nick Bray, Architect Equilibrium Consulting, Structural Engineers