Williams Lake First Nation Administration Building

Client: Williams Lake First Nation
Location: Williams Lake, BC
Project size: 17,700 sq ft

The Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) administration building is a dynamic two-storey hybrid mass timber building that supports the interaction between administrative offices, the First Nation’s elected leadership, council chambers, cultural exhibit space, and an archeological laboratory. The 17,700 sq ft building’s layout is quite efficient, but the use of transparency, light, and thoughtful programmatic distribution provides a sense of impressive breadth.

WLFN wanted to create a modern and efficient building that would serve multiple purposes, including research. The primary function of the building is office space, which benefits from a two-storey interconnected atrium that features local artwork and natural daylight. The building entry focuses on greeting visitors, the gallery space, and the council members’ experience, while the back-of-house provides a storage, restoration, and preparation area for artifacts as well as working space to create artwork.

The creation and display of local artwork is an important component of the project. The mass timber gallery at the entry focuses on the display of First Nations art, and is a light and airy space filled with natural daylight. The building exterior is accented with metal artwork made by the Williams Lake First Nation that will be dramatically illuminated with backlighting.

This highly collaborative project underwent numerous design revisions, and even a site relocation, in order to meet budget and schedule requirements. WLFN and the project team worked very well together to deliver an impressive multi-purpose building that will serve as inspiration for other First Nations groups across the province.