The Anahim Lake Airport, located three hours west of Williams Lake , B.C. and operated by the Cariboo Regional District, chose to use wood as part of their new terminal building. The 90 square metre, two-storey facility serves passengers on regularly scheduled flights as well as other airport users such as fishing and heli-ski charters or fire centre initial attack crews. The main floor includes an office and waiting area, two bathrooms and a large covered parking area for the runway sweeper. Upstairs is a finished suite for the airport caretaker. The airport commission’s goal for the building was to have a structure that was aesthetically pleasing with local character, meaning a large timber and log design, along with addressing practical concerns such as maintenance and operating costs. Through the planning process, the design-build contractor used many innovative strategies and materials along with some robust tried-and-true methods to achieve these goals. The highly insulated building uses a wood-fired boiler along with LED lighting and a heat recovery system to exceed the national energy code standards by 39%, and reduce use of the local diesel-generated electricity by 90%.
This project offered the opportunity to incorporate a variety of structural wood solutions and wood-based insulation products in combination. Among the technologies employed are ‘woodcrete’ foundations, cross laminated timber (CLT) panels for the lower walls, and a combination of gluelaminated timber (glulam) and conventional wood framing for the superstructure. Both fibreboard and blown cellulose insulation are used, and the building is clad in solid timber planks. Despite the variety of materials and techniques, the finished structure has a unified and appealing aesthetic. It also demonstrated the effectiveness of the wood solutions in creating an energy efficient and durable building. The use of wood helped to overcome two other great challenges in the project --- the remote location and the lack of local resources. Most of the structure was prefabricated in the Zirnhelt Timber Frames shop near Williams Lake. This made it possible to complete the site construction within a highly compressed time frame: only two months between the last concrete pour and the completion of the building. The success of the project and the replicability of its construction techniques could have a positive impact on the future economic development of the region.