The proposed new Quesnel Museum and Visitor Centre
The City hired the firm of Urban Arts Ltd in 2008/2009 to complete Schematic Design and Design Development phases for a proposed new museum and visitor centre in LeBourdais Park to replace the current aging structure. The proposed facility incorporates the innovative use of wood and sustainable building practices. It is an L-shaped building. A two-storey plus basement wing faces the highway as a "billboard" advertising the Cariboo Museum and Visitor Centre, and highlighting the Community Living Room within the Atrium. A one-storey exhibit wing, covered with a green roof, is partially buried into the existing slope, preserving views from the park over the green roof to Pioneer Cemetery. The Visitor Centre is a prominent pavilion located north of Entry Plaza.
The exterior facing Highway 97 features the glazed billboard wall with views through to the structural trees in the Atrium beyond. Other exterior materials include heavy timber columns at the heritage walk, poured in place board-formed concrete at the exhibit wing and stone facing at the Visitor Centre.
The public interior spaces include: the Atrium, an open, light filled space, defined by the soaring wood solid panel roof supported by the structural 'trees'; the Multipurpose Room and Temporary Gallery, constructed from the solid wood panels; and the "black box" space of the Exhibit Hall. Interior finish materials are kept to a minimum with the solid wood panels exposed throughout, and polished concrete floors in all the public areas. All millwork is to be constructed from Pine Beetle wood.
Sustainable design practices have heavily influenced and informed the design. The facility has been designed to meet LEED Gold requirements.
The facility is designed to feature innovative wood technology and to support the local economy. It can be a demonstration project that explores the use of a variety of wood construction methodologies in the centre of BC's wood industry.
The design of the Museum and Visitor Centre was funded through contributions from Western Economic Diversification Pine Beetle Community Economic Diversification Initiative, the Northern Development Initiative Trust, the City of Quesnel, and the Friends of the Museum. Funding has not been secured yet, to advance the project to the next phase of its development.