Aanischaaukamikw, the Cree Cultural Institute, is a museum, archive, library teaching centre and gathering space for cultural events and was built using FSC-certified structural materials
A Structure Honoring Tradition and Culture
Intended as a museum and gathering place, the community and larger Cree nations of northern Quebec envisioned a centre of identity.
They wanted the new cultural centre to be built close to the village core of Ouje-Bougoumou on a sloping site overlooking the cultural and ceremonial grounds at the center of the village.
The architects began with speaking to the elders of the community, the children, the teachers and asked questions about the needs of the space its significance before turning it into reality.
Over the next thirteen years, $15.8 million was raised for the building project from governments, businesses, Cree entities, individuals and families; memoranda of agreements were struck with major institutions like the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Using Products that connect to the surrounding forest
Inspiration for Aanischaaukamikw’s bold design, with its massive laminated spruce beams, comes from the essential structure of the traditional Cree longhouse or “sabtuan.”, which was common in the village of Ouje-Bougoumou where the center now stands.
While intent on creating a poetic object within the landscape of this community, the architects aimed at reconciling the time-honoured building traditions of the Cree with contemporary construction techniques.
The use of curved FSC-certified laminated black pine timber structural elements from Nordic Structures was clearly beneficial to the regional industry but was also symbolical as fir, cedar and maple were used as a reminder of the importance of the forest for the Cree Nation.
The centre serves as a showcase for Cree artifacts and as a venue for traditional music and storytelling events. Aanischaaukamikw includes a library and resource centre, permanent and temporary exhibit spaces, archiving and artifact storage facilities, administrative offices, community spaces, classrooms and other educational facilities.
The Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute ties together the village’s historical traditions, while giving back to the community with a state-of-the-art meeting place.
Figurr Architects Collective
Douglas Cardinal Architect