Located near Hanceville, B.C., this new 423 square metre health centre was developed by the Yunesit’in people of British Columbia’s Cariboo Chilcotin region, and is a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Yunesit’in dwelling. Historically, the Yunesit’in were a nomadic people who moved through this vast ‘Land without Limits’, taking their cue from the migration of food animals or the seasonal availability of fruits and other edible plants. When these food sources were abundant, the Yunesit’in would stop long enough to establish temporary villages. The Yunesit’in used Douglas fir, a timber indigenous to the Chilcotin River Valley, to construct simple shelters. Each comprised a central gathering space defined by a frame structure and flanked by protecting walls made from closely spaced poles in the form of a palisade. The new Yunesit’in Health Center can be seen as a contemporary expression of the traditional Yunesit’in house, embodying both the material qualities of the original buildings and the environmental values of the Yunesit’in people.
The design of the new Yunesit’in Health Centre is inspired by traditional structures, and carries forward the Yunesit’in practice of using wood to create places of cultural significance within their ‘Land without Limits’. As with traditional structures, the most important program area in the new Health Centre is the Community Gathering Space. In its contemporary form the space is delineated by closely spaced glue-laminated timber posts rather than by solid timbers.
“Our community is able to interact with the building as a space that reflects us as ,people of the earth. While the design is a modern inspiration, the Douglas-fir reflects back our surroundings, our use of the land, and our aesthetic that entangles our roots to the place”.
Chief Russ Myers, Yunesit’In Government (formerly Stone Indian Band)