The former Yukon Visitor Centre, now the Museum of the Beringia, is located adjacent to the Alaska Highway and by the Whitehorse Airport. The building was designed to take advantage of the striking distant landscape and is one of the few "white-box" rather than "black-box" museums, creating a unique sense of place in the beautiful and demanding Yukon landscape.
The material and cultural presence of the Yukon and its people is embodied in the design. A visitor centre plays a unique role, as it is frequently an outsider’s first impression of a place (and sometimes the only impression!) and the gateway for greater understanding of an area’s character and history. In sharing the history of the Beringia, this building captures be presence of ancient landscapes. Designed in collaboration with Sturgess Architecture, the Visitor Centre invites and inspires visitors with the beautiful, rich cultural history of the Yukon territory.
AN ORGANIC ARCHITECTURAL EXPERIENCE
The building’s distinctive design is simple but elegant, referencing in its frame the organic architecture of a fish skeleton and the curving, sheltering body of an overturned canoe. The low, linear structure of the building integrates well with the natural environment and allows for a comfortable, logical progression as visitors wander through the displays to the 200-seat audio-visual theatre. In 1993, this project was recognized with the Governor General's Award Medal of Excellence, Canada's most prestigious recognition of achievement in Architecture.