This facility establishes a gateway controlling access to the overall Fort Whyte Alive site and houses the Buffalo Stone Café, the Nature Shop, meeting rooms and larger spaces available for functions such as banquets and small conferences. The rough stone wall on the north wall appears as a geological anomaly on the prairie and its funnelesque shape collects visitors from the parking lot and draws them to the centre. The building opens into a series of deckspaces that open out over the lake, drawing the outdoors into the internal spaces.
“The project was unanimously considered to be the most creative work, as well as the most comprehensive submission. The architects were able to convey full information on the project with a format of photos, drawings, text and contextual images. Described by one of the jury members as “Frank Lloyd Wright on drugs”, this project stood above the rest of the crowd, raising the bar for design. It is the jury’s hope that this project will inspire and heighten the level of competition in the future. The project was acknowledged as having been integrated into the landscape, for its sophistication and simplicity leading to elegance, for the use of natural materials, which are organized in an evocative but coherent presentation. This project is both beautiful and functional.” Comments of the jury for the Manitoba Wood Design Awards