The Audain Art Museum designed by Patkau Architects is a 56,000 square foot museum located in Whistler, British Columbia. It will house Michael Audain’s personal art collection which traces a visual record of British Columbia from the late 18th century to the present day. The design of the museum is shaped by three powerful determinants. The first determinant is the need to house both the permanent exhibition of Michael Audain’s collection and, in juxtaposition with this collection, temporary exhibits of all kinds from across Canada and around the world. The second determinant is the beautiful but challenging site in Whistler which, although blessed by magnificent evergreen forest vegetation, is located within the floodplain of Fitzsimmons Creek. The third determinant is the enormous snowfall typical of Whistler which averages nearly 15 ft annual accumulated depth.
Patkau Architects’ design responds to these determinants, simply and directly, by projecting a volume of sequential public spaces and galleries into an existing linear void within the surrounding forest. It is elevated a full storey above the ground and crowned with a steeply sloped roof, containing administration and back-of-house support functions.