The use of wood within our public spaces allows the visitor to feel immersed within Whistler’s natural, forested surroundings. It was with intention that wood was used to create this sense of serenity and harmony with the environment.
The Audain Art Museum, housing Michael Audain’s personal collection, provides a visual history of British Columbia from the late 18th century to the present. As the museum sits among a heavily forested site, the use of wood for both structure and finish was a natural choice. The museum’s design molds its public spaces and galleries into a linear form within the surrounding forest. The structure is elevated one full storey above the ground and crowned with a steeply sloped panelized wood roof containing offices, art storage and temporary exhibition galleries. The steep roof helps shed snow and provides thermal protection.
The form and character of the building is deliberately restrained, providing a quiet backdrop to the surrounding natural landscape. The exterior is clad with dark metal, designed to recede into the shadows of the surrounding forest. At entryways and other openings, the dark metal is overlaid by a luminous wood casing. Public spaces in the interior, which are also visible from the exterior, use the same wood as interior finish, providing visitors with a warm, calm aesthetic.
The roof structure was built using prefabricated engineered wood panels, 2.4 metres wide and up to 16.5 metres long. Laminated strand lumber (LSL) was used for sheathing and parallel strand lumber (PSL) for the rafters of the panel. Waterproofing membrane was applied to the wood roof panels during shop fabrication to allow rapid enclosure of the steel structure in all types of weather conditions.
The wood soffit and exterior cladding are of clear vertical grain (CVG) western hemlock, treated with a clear fire-retardant and a semi-transparent stain. Inside, the walls and ceilings are also clad with tongue-and-groove CVG western hemlock. Plywood was used to sheathe the non-structural walls, and durable white oak engineered wood planks were used on the floors.