Vancouver Maritime Museum

The design for the new Vancouver Maritime Museum focuses on compressive and open spaces, mimicking the experience of walking along the decks and through the narrow passageways of the St. Roch, a retired RCMP vessel that successfully transited the Northwest Passage and now resides in the museum.

Situated on the site of Vancouver’s existing Maritime Museum, this design seeks to engage visitors and the public by directly interacting with the nearby seawall. The continuous path of the seawall sweeps visitors up to the main entrance, while the forked, more scenic route along the shoreline offers moments to stand below the sloped, outwardly projected glazing and experience the grandeur of the St. Roch. The public may also relax upon the patio outside of the canoe carving studio, or climb the stairs to the rooftop and enjoy the views of the artefacts inside the museum. The siting also engages visitors by offering views out to sea, providing context for the nautical artefacts on display. This space allows the public to engage with the site around the clock, regardless of whether the museum is open or closed.

Built into the existing hillside, the south facade of the Maritime Museum provides a slim profile as to not detract from neighbouring homes views of the North Shore mountains. The exterior cladding is made from charred cedar, a durable and long lasting material that has rot-proof and weather-resistant properties, optimal for British Columbia’s West Coast. 

This structure aims to achieve BC Energy Step Code Level 3 through an enclosure first approach. To achieve this, the wall, roof and foundation assemblies are designed to reach prescribed r-values, and do this by increasing the depth of rigid insulation. Three open, light filled voids spanning all three levels are used to display artefacts, while being specifically designed to facilitate the stack effect. The depth of the roof overhang has also been designed based on the angle of the sun, allowing warming winter light into the space, while blocking out the harsh summer sun.