The Kwanlin Dün Community Hub is a 3,750 square-meter 2-storey building located in Whitehorse, Yukon, serving as a gathering space for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation citizens to come together and celebrate their culture and heritage. Seen from above the building is shaped like a leaping fish, symbolizing the First Nation’s connection to the Yukon River.

Project Essentials

  • LocationWhitehorse, YT
  • ClientKwanlin Dün First Nation
  • ArchitectReimagine Architects
  • Size40,364 ft² (3,750 m²)
  • BudgetCAD $21 million
Kwanlin Dün Community Building Kwanlin Dün Community Building

Inside the community hub are several gathering areas for meetings and events, a Healing Room and KDFN’s council chambers. The basalt columns found at Miles Canyon have served as inspiration for the project, highly influencing the spatial narratives of the building. As a result, places of special importance such as the Elders’ Lounge and the Healing Room have a hexagonal floor plan, while the shape is also present with the columns that conform to the edge of the building.

The project embraces innovative structural components such as the glulam wall panel that fold over at the roof level to become a V-shaped king post truss while showing support for the community by using locally sourced materials to bring them to life.  The circular council chambers feature an expressive steel king post and cables supporting a mass timber roof.  Post and beam mass timber framing was utilized at the second floor and roof levels to effectively accommodate the irregular building layout and sloping roof.  The main atrium features a steel and timber framed stair with glulam treads.  Steel braced frames were evenly distributed around the building to handle the seismic and wind forces.

The unique visual language of the design creates a warm, inviting, and calm ambiance which results from the imaginative use of wood and clever play with light. Sustainability plays an important role in the design, as features such as maximizing daylight, passive ventilation, energy-efficient envelope, high-efficiency LED lighting and rainwater collection are integrated.