The Canadian Cancer Society Kordyban Lodge provides accommodation for 36 out-of-town residents receiving medical treatment at the Cancer Agency Centre for the North in Prince George. People living with cancer and undergoing medical treatment are often overwhelmed by feelings of fear and anxiety, and the personal struggle against cancer requires courage and support. The primary intention of this project was to provide a life-affirming residential environment contributing to the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of cancer patients and their families, with an architecture rooted in the context and culture of its surroundings. The expressed wood structure, spatial organization and natural light gives definition to a coherent yet varied domestic content with finely crafted public rooms, circulation spaces and private areas. Wood products are used in a clear, clean and contemporary way, creating a modern aesthetic rooted in the northern British Columbia region. The economy of the region is driven by the forest sector, and wood products are used extensively structurally and architecturally, on both the building’s interior and exterior, for their durability, versatility, cost-effectiveness and sustainability. The project was seen as an opportunity to showcase wood’s ability to create a life-affirming residential environment for cancer patients.
Kordyban Lodge was constructed in accordance with the Wood First policy adopted by the City of Prince George. The hybrid structure consists of engineered Douglas-fir timber frame for all major spaces with long spans, conventional light wood framing, factory-built prefabricated wall panels and engineered roof trusses. The beauty, versatility, strength and ease of construction of engineered Douglas-fir is highlighted in the major spaces with long clear spans, as well as other areas with particular structural and architectural responses. A robust entrance canopy constructed of gluelaminated (glulam) columns and beams, paired purlins and exposed wood decking, acts as a welcoming gesture for the Lodge. On the north elevation, a covered walkway entrance to the cancer society offices is defined by the rhythm of glulam columns supporting a large roof overhang. Inside, Western red cedar ceilings and paneling in combination with solid maple slats and trims, maple veneer panels and wood cabinetry, give the spaces a feeling of warmth and add a natural character and distinctiveness. The social spaces are two-storey volumes with a Douglas-fir timber structure with Western red cedar ceilings and floor-to-ceiling glazing. For its sound suppression and absorption qualities, as well as exceptional beauty, Western red cedar is used for the finishes on the walls in the meditation and family rooms to create a quiet, serene space.