We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive reaction from our guests about the look and feel of the lodge. Everyone likes the warmth of the wood and stone, and many people just drop in to soak up the atmosphere. With the café and other facilities, the lodge has provided a much-needed meeting place for the Creekside community, and a popular stopping point on the Valley Trail.
Nita Lake Lodge is situated in the Resort Municipality of Whistler, British Columbia, a world-class ski destination in the heart of the province’s Coast Mountains. In addition to the lodge, the project included a new train station that was the point of entry to the town for many visitors who attended the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The lodge is perched on the shore of Nita Lake, situated on the axis of Lake Placid Road, and highly visible from the Valley Trail which parallels the lakeshore to the west.
The architectural expression recalls that of early mountain lodges and train stations, with multiple gables and balconies, and a carriage porch. Many of these design elements are built in heavy timber, or in a wood–steel composite construction. Many accents and details are also in wood—those that are structural being in Douglas-fir, and those that are simply decorative being in western red cedar.
The primary structure of the building is cast-in-place concrete. However, the ancillary structures are built either entirely of wood or of a combination of steel and wood. Several structures have a primary framing system of hollow steel section columns and beams—the beams being fitted with steel saddles and knife plates that enable heavy timber purlins to be attached between them.
Other canopy structures support green roofs and are constructed completely of heavy timber. The vertical supports for these canopies are split logs that taper from the base to the top. Spreading from these central supports are Douglas-fir diagonal struts that in turn support Douglas-fir purlins. The decking is Douglas-fir tongue and groove lumber and plywood.
Wood also plays a key role in creating the interior character of the hotel. The public route through the building that connects Lake Placid Road to the lakeshore is identified by a river of blue stones that passes between Douglas-fir faced columns that are similar in appearance to those outside. Alder doors and trims add to the visual warmth of the lobby area and complement other custom designed pieces such as the restaurant gates fabricated from iron railroad spikes.
Much of the cabinetry in both the public areas of the building and in the guest rooms is made of local alder. Alder is naturally light in colour, so the cabinetry in the north-facing rooms was stained dark cherry to create a warmer atmosphere, while a honey colour was used for the cabinetry in the brighter south-facing rooms. The clean lines and crisp detailing of the millwork help maintain a sense of spaciousness.