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Audain Art Museum recognized with prestigious architecture award

Arts News: Dates set for Cypress Point Carnival

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The architects behind the Audain Art Museum (AAM) have been recognized with a prestigious award from the American Institute of Architects.

The museum is one of the recipients of the 2018 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture, considered the profession's highest recognition. One of 17 recipients across the world, the museum was the only Canadian project singled out.

"The design navigates three main determinants by connecting local culture with the permanent collection and traveling exhibits of all kinds, by spanning the revegetated floodplain of Fitzsimmons Creek, and by strategically shedding the enormous snowfall typical of Whistler," the institute said of the design by Vancouver firm Patkau Architects. "The building's minimal interiors recede behind the art and its calm exterior foregrounds the natural landscape."

Housing developer Michael Audain's extensive collection of B.C. art, the AAM is a marvel of design nestled into the forest — a site that presented numerous hurdles to architects.

"It's a combination of a very distinct program on a very interesting site, and by that I mean a challenging site," says Patkau architect David Shone. "Being in the Fitzsimmons Creek floodplain, it's not your first thought about where to put a building housing these invaluable artworks."

As a result, the designers elevated the 5,213-square-metre building a storey above the ground, and included a bridge that ushers visitors from Blackcomb Way into the facility.

"That creates a great entrance sequence in terms of leaving the world of Whistler and walking through to what Michael Audain conceived as a gallery in the forest," Shone adds.

The building's interior was "deliberately restrained" to offer a quiet, minimalist backdrop to the art within and surrounding landscape.

"What we were trying to do was connect the building to its site and the landscape, which has a very powerful connection to the art that's in the collection," he says. In the past year, the AAM has also been recognized with a Canadian Wood Council Design Award, the Azure AZ Award, and the AIBC Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Medal in Architecture.

Let winter prevail at next month's Cypress Point Carnival

The date for this year's Cypress Point Winter Carnival have been set.

The fifth annual winter celebration will welcome the comunity to The Point Artist-Run Centre on Feb. 11 for an afternoon of family-friendly activities from noon to 5 p.m., including snow-sculpting and ice-carving competitions, live music, painting, and shinny and curling on the ice of Alta Lake.

That's followed by the ticketed evening show at 6 p.m., which kicks off with a hearty dinner prepared by Michele Bush, a piano performance by Bradford Needham, a live art auction, all capped off by East Van gypsy swing punk band, The Staggers and Jaggs.

Tickets are $30 with dinner, or $15 for just the show. For kids 12 and under, those prices drop to $20 and $10, respectively.

Get yours at Armchair Books or at thepointartists.com.

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