LEES+Associates completed the landscape design for the new 3500 square meter Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) Community Hub building in Whitehorse, Yukon. Retained by Manasc Isaac Architects and the KDFN, the design envisioned blending a traditional plaza with a more park-like design approach, this public landscape will serve as a multi-functional gathering and events space.
This landscape design works to link the Yukon River and traditional territory of Kwanlin Dün to the site of the new community hub building on a plateau up above downtown Whitehorse. Water is central to the landscape design, with a dry riverbed feature running along the front face of the community hub building that visitors to the building cross as they enter.
This riverbed will be fed ephemerally with snowmelt and rainwater at key points. The “headwaters” of this water feature are located outside the windows of the healing room where water cascades down a series of basalt columns. Bridge elements cross over the riverbed at entry points to the building.
There are different scales of gathering spaces woven throughout the plaza, ranging from informal space that can double as commercial space, to a central ceremonial gathering space. These spaces are delineated by a series of planted islands, inspired by the channels that are carved through the landscape over time as a river becomes braided. At the heart of the central space is a fire pit, serving as a year-round community gathering point.