Conference centre design to reflect the landscape of Whistler
This is one in a series of columns focusing on the Whistler Conference Centre Renovation project.
By Doug Stackhouse,
Director, Facility & Event Operations, Tourism Whistler
As completion of the Whistler Conference Centre renovation project draws closer, the final exterior appearance is emerging with the recent installation of the beams that frame the front entranceway and the rockwork and other finishes around the building.
The wood, glass and rock features are part of the vision for the renovated Whistler Conference Centre to reflect the natural landscape and inspiration of the Whistler valley. This has been a primary focus for project architects Lutz Associates Architects. A key element of this design is to create a strong connection between the interior and exterior spaces of the building.
Along with the expanded capacity for larger meetings, the design aesthetics and quality of the renovated conference centre product are significant selling points for building Whistler as an international conference destination.
"Meeting delegates so often visit a destination, and spend so much time inside that they dont have the opportunity to be out in the areas environment as much as they would like," says Janet Lutz, of Lutz Associates Architects. "We have tried to bring some of the outdoors inside to add to the overall Whistler experience."
The entranceway from Village Square will be a grand sky-lit gable entry with exposed laminate wood beams, and full-height windows that enhance mountain views.
Just inside the entrance, the grand gathering area will be the "Great Room", formerly called the "Atrium". The focal point will be a 12-metre-tall Rumford low-emission wood-burning fireplace adding to the Whistler ambiance. The fireplace and the front of the building are faced with basalt rock from the Whistler region.
A new enclosed glass Conservatory off of the Great Room is expected to be a popular meeting space. Banquets of up to 120 people will enjoy the rooms mountain views.
The old green roof is being replaced with a grey galvalum roof. The roof lines at the front of the building have been raised to provide expanded views and natural light into the building.
A graceful staircase will descend from the Great Room, connecting the two levels of the conference centre with a unique design of steel and rock features.
With a mix of carpet and slate, floors and floor patterning are visual design features inspired by Whistlers natural beauty. Additional finishes include natural tone paint throughout the facility and new wall coverings on the movable partitions in the meeting rooms. The exposed wood ceiling in the ballroom, previously stained dark, has been corn blasted to show the brighter natural colour and warmth of the wood.
New lights, recessed in the paired support beams of the entry, will lead visitors into the conference centre and reinforce the connection between Conference Square, the area outside of the grand entrance, and the Great Room. Handsome wall sconces will mark the entry doors to the ballroom, while inside the ballroom, flexibility in lighting applications will meet the multiple requirements for this area.
Although recognizable, the original conference centre has been transformed and will offer a unique new Whistler event experience for its guests.
The construction will be complete at the end of August and the re-opening will kick off with a grand opening gala Sept. 27, 2003.
Lower (underground): 55 parking spaces will be blocked off as a construction zone through August.
Upper (pay parking): Three spaces will be occupied through September.
For more information please contact Tourism Whistler at 604-932-3928.
Visit www.whistlermeetings.com for a virtual tour of the exterior of the renovated conference centre.