Project Description The City of Cranbrook embarked on an ambitious project to upgrade its existing regional airport to support the aspirations of a thriving tourism industry and stimulate local economic growth in the East Kootenays. The region boasts some of the best winter tourism destinations in the country, with 4 world-class ski destinations within a 2-hour radius. Summer tourism is also thriving and enjoys a particular focus on golf, fishing and outdoor adventure activities.
The project includes an extended runway and the renovation and expansion of the existing terminal building. Originally built in the 1970’s, the existing building was too small to accommodate the anticipated business growth. More importantly, the existing building failed to capture the spirit of the particular place and was unsuccessful in its role as an ambassador to the region.
The newly expanded facility creates a competitive alternative to the CalgaryAirport for scheduled and charter carriers, and is well positioned to attract a full range of domestic and international travelers seeking adventure in southeastern BC. The building program includes all of the essential features of a modern international air terminal building; passenger departures and arrivals areas, baggage processing, security screening, and administrative areas. The expansion also adds an International Arrivals facility complete with Canada Customs and Immigration (now called Canadian Border Services Administration) offices, detention rooms, food inspection space and passenger screening facilities.
Context The building is situated in the Columbia RiverValley, surrounded by the stunning physiographic features of the ponderosa pine and tamarack forest, the Rocky Mountains to the east, and the Purcell foothills to the west. Ground, sky, and mountains converge in a broad panorama, animated by the continual change of seasonal colours and light. The setting is truly inspirational and presents an extraordinary landscape for exploration and adventure. The building design was conceived to emphasize the remarkable, surrounding natural landscape by adopting a quiet approach characterized by formal simplicity, natural materials, balanced day lighting, and focused framing of the near to distant views.
Economy of Means The building was designed and built during the recent period of rapid economic growth throughout BC, when construction costs were soaring daily and labour shortfalls were increasingly common. Balancing the demands of the ambitious new program with the realities of the modest budget available was a primary driver in many of the design decisions of the team. Simplicity reigned as the overall guiding principle and informs the rigorous and straightforward detailing of a humble palette of materials. Construction was completed over three successive phases due to the constraints imposed by cost and the location of the existing runway infrastructure. The strategy allowed for the continuous operation of the terminal throughout three distinct phases of additions and renovations.
The project provides an important commentary on the latent value of our existing built infrastructure and the transformative power of thoughtful and economical renovations and additions.
Resolution and Treatment The building is organized along a central spine that connects all of the functional aspects of the program and reinforces passenger wayfinding. Clerestory glazing provides daylight into the center of the plan, and allows for natural ventilation through motorized windows controlled by the building management system.
Building materials are natural in colour and local in character. The exterior steel cladding is prefinished with a metallic paint to reflect the changing moods of the sky and landscape. Warmth is added with a red cedar rain screen, robustly detailed to evoke a civic presence and honour the importance of wood in our BC economy. A cost effective concrete floor links the majority of the interior spaces, ground and polished to reveal the colour and texture of the locally sourced aggregate. Maple panels envelope the passenger check-in and lounge areas and frame the significant views to the Rockies beyond.
Sustainability Principles The project embodies the philosophy that simplicity is the first and most important step toward our sustainable future: build only what is necessary. The careful integration and re-purposing of the existing building facilitated an economical renovation project with the energy performance characteristics of a completely new building. The project also includes a number of other innovative high performance measures including: radiant floor heating and cooling, highly integrated displacement ventilation system, earth tempered HVAC air supply, passive strategies for solar control and natural ventilation, solar heated domestic water system, high performance glazing systems, daylighting strategies coupled with high efficiency lighting, high efficiency boilers.