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Uskehne Hubudelhti Youth Health + Wellness Centre

  • Client
    Stellat’en First Nation
  • Location
    Stellako, BC
  • Size
    12,000 sq ft
  • Completion


Rural Indigenous communities in Canada – especially their vulnerable teen and young adult populations – have serious challenges accessing much-needed social services. The Uskehne Hubudelhti health and wellness center, which means “we honor our children”, will support the Stellat’en First Nation and surrounding northern communities by providing access to a range of counselling, education, health, and physical activity spaces. The Nation’s goal is to create a safe and vibrant space that promotes well-being, and sparks community engagement for its youth.

The design concept took shape through multiple community engagement sessions, which showcased a tangible desire to connect the building to the land and local fishing traditions. Key programming, health and wellness, ancillary services, and activity spaces are connected through public spaces that link to a community fire pit, walking trails, the building entry, and community hall connection. The interior public space is an extension of the exterior, and is directly connected.

Uskehne Hubudelhti has strong sustainability goals, which will be accomplished through passive and active methods. The design takes advantage of prevailing winds from the south-east and southern exposure by stepping the building massing and providing glazing in key locations. To limit operational GHG emissions and eliminate the need for fossil fuels, the center has been designed to connect to a future geothermal district energy system. The envelope uses cellulose and rockwool insulation to meet a higher level of performance than required, to limit heat loss.

Additionally, the primary structural material is locally-sourced mass timber with light-frame wood sub-structure; this will reduce the building’s embodied carbon footprint, while the use of traditional materials will be a source of healing.

When the center is completed, it will live up to its Stellat’en name by providing much-needed youth space and doing its part to limit the project’s impact on the global climate.