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Canadian Canoe Museum selects Heneghan Peng Architects’ design for new location

The single-story structure is designed for sustainability as well as function.

January 22, 2016 |

Image/ Visualization by Luxigon

Whatever floats your boat (no pun intended). That’s what they say when it comes to the wide variety of unique, underground, and sometimes just downright weird things that interest people. Like canoes, for example. Lightweight, narrow boats that many people might be familiar with from taking out on a lake on a beautiful summer day.

But did you know there is a Canadian Canoe Museum in Ontario? In fact, the Canadian Canoe Museum holds the largest collection of canoes and kayaks in the world. Not only that, but they have also just made their decision on the winning proposal in a competition created to design the new Canadian Canoe Museum. The winning firm was Dublin-based Heneghan Peng Architects, reports ArchDaily, with a design that is nothing if not unique.

The design “embraces aboriginal wisdom to live and build lightly on the land,” the Museum said. And “build lightly” it does. The design, which features an 80,000-sf, single-story structure, is topped with a two-acre rooftop garden. From above, the building is hardly noticeable, vanishing into its surroundings like a camouflaged sniper lying in the weeds.


Image/ Visualization by Luxigon


This blending in with the environment is one of the biggest reasons the design was chosen. The jury liked that it worked with the land rather than overwhelming it.

“The Heneghan Peng Kearns Mancini design stands out through its commitment to sustainability at all levels, alignment with the ethos and culture of the canoe and kayak, its long term operational flexibility and low operating cost, and its respect for the Lift Lock National Historic Site,” said Lisa Rochon, Chair of the Canadian Canoe Museum Selection Committee.

In addition to the impressive rooftop garden, the building will also be clad in cedar and fitted with removable partitions allowing for the layout of the museum to change over time. Features will include 17,000-sf of exhibition space, a 20,000-sf high bay storage area, a 250-seat multi-purpose room, café, gift shop, artisanal workshops, and a toddler play area. It is apparent this is going to be a place for more people than just those who take a deep interest in kayaks and canoes.


Image/ Visualization by Luxigon


The structure, which is estimated to cost between $45 and $50 million, will be built on the Peterborough Lift Lock National Historic Site with the expectation of breaking ground in late 2017 and opening 30 months later. Although, the project still has some hurdles to clear before it becomes official. Richard Tucker, Executive Director of the Canadian Canoe Museum explained the next steps.

“The Canadian Canoe Museum will immediately start work on the design and submission of a planning application to the City of Peterborough and Parks Canada to approve the new facility as well as laying the ground work for our fund raising campaign,” Tucker said. “This is a very significant and extremely important project for all Canadians, Parks Canada, The Canadian Canoe Museum, the City of Peterborough, the County of Peterborough, the Trent Severn Waterway and the entire Kawartha Region and we will need everybody’s strong support and backing in whatever way possible to make this project a reality.”

If and when it is completed, the eccentrically designed museum hopes to be a boon to the surrounding area.

Heneghan Peng will collaborate with Kearns Mancini Architects, a local firm, to help bring the structure to fruition. Also on the building team are ARUP (Building Services & SE), Foggy River Farm Design (landscape architect), and Bartenbach (lighting design).


Model: Andrew Ingham & Associates

Image/ Visualization by Luxigon Architects

Model: Andrew Ingham & Associates

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