December 7, 2005
by Canadian Architect
The RCMP Heritage Centre will be a destination site for visitors and residents of Regina and the RCMP Academy, and will house the new Centennial Museum.
Designed by a team consisting of P3Architecture Ltd., Arthur Erickson Design Consultant and Nick Milkovich Architects Inc., the architecture of the facility will be a landmark for the city and a symbol for the RCMP on a national and international level.
The building design draws upon the prairie landscape for inspiration; the overwhelming sense of horizon and horizontality, and the wide expanse of the sky. The design team has responded with the simple design gesture of creating a building that emerges from the archetypal prairie landscape, and subtle design cues have been derived from the original forts that dotted the landscape.
A sense of entry and definition has been created by the introduction of a wall extending from the building into the landscape to the east. This wall acts as a defining element for the Academy site, an entry gateway that defines the unused property to the east and frames views of the creek and parkland beyond. Within the building, the wall acts as a gateway between the public spaces and the exhibit spaces beyond.
From the west the building will appear as an unfolding of the landscape projecting upward. From the east, the high roof will announce the building and Academy site to visitors. The form of the roof is reminiscent of both aboriginal and NWMP encampments and also recalls the organic shapes of windblown snow.
The building massing is that of a fan, unfolding and rising from the landscape. The entire scheme is pinned to the earth by the vertical expression of the circular theatre housed adjacent to the entry foyer and gift shop.
Major materials include wood and split-faced Tyndall stone, a rustic limestone quarried in western Manitoba. This heavily textured material is reminiscent of the earthen structures built by the early prairie immigrants, while offering a sense of permanence and warmth to the building.
A strong relationship between building interior and the surrounding landscape is achieved through large expanses of glazing that provide views both in and out. To realize sustainable design intentions and to reinforce the image of the building as part of the prairie landscape, the lower flat roofs will become green roofs in later phases of the project and as funding becomes available. Erickson feels that the concept of this roof as a representation of the passage of the seasons, and the tie between the building and nature is critical.
The project is scheduled for completion in May 2007.