Three Dalhousie University architecture professors have been honoured for their design of a health centre in Pictou Landing.
“It’s a big accomplishment for the community, not just the architects,” says one of the professors, Richard Kroeker, explaining that the community of Pictou Landing has faced many struggles.
“They’ve had a lot of health problems there related to the pulp mill and the effluent from the pulp mill,” he says. “They’ve also had a long struggle with the Boat Harbour cleanup.”
The Pictou Landing Health Centre is a community health clinic that has doctors, dentists, nurses and space for community meetings.
The design for it won the 2010 International Architecture Award for Best New Global Design and was awarded by the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
The facility was designed by making use of wood in a traditional First Nations way, which was something Kroeker had previously studied.
“This allowed us to use local trees, which were quite small by diameter, which normally might not be of commercial value, but by bending them and making bent trusses of them, they become quite strong and usable in a larger scale building,” says Kroeker.
Kroeker is hoping to replicate the materials and technology used in the building of the Pictou Landing Health Centre for other projects.
“One of the things I’m working on now is to build a kind of prototype house,” he says.
One of the advantages is the wood used for the Health Centre was deemed to be of little value for traditional use.
“It’s not big enough to saw commercially into timber,” says Kroeker.
This wood could be found in forests that have been previously clearcut.
“Often, it’s hard to find trees to build with in those places,” says Kroeker.