Seven Generations Education Institute receives 2021 Wood Design Award

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Kenora, ON – March 1, 2021 – Seven Generations Education Institute near Fort Frances, ON, designed by Nelson Architecture Inc. of Kenora, was the winner of the 2021 Institutional Award from the Canadian Wood Council’s Ontario Wood Works! Program.

Other awards were presented to the new Laurentian University Student Centre in Sudbury, Toronto Montessori School, SmartVMC Bus Terminal in Vaughn, One Young in Kitchener, and the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Logistics Warehouse in Chalk River.

According to the Canadian Wood Council, “the inspiring submissions for this year’s awards reflected the advancements in wood research and technology that are diversifying the application of wood in construction. The winning projects are thoughtful in design and execution, highlighting both structural and aesthetic benefits.”

Seven Generations Education Institute is a publicly funded, not-for-profit educational institute located on Treaty 3 territory, providing culturally enriched high school and post-secondary education and trade programs to both indigenous and non-indigenous people. The Institute is governed by ten First Nation communities and this school represents the first dedicated new build in support of the educational goals of those communities.

This flagship building has both academic and administrative space and includes 12 classrooms, a library with multimedia support and training areas, maker space, a multi-trade lab, and a culinary lab with cafeteria.

The long narrow design and arched roofline of the building was inspired by the Ojibway teaching of Turtle Island and the traditional longhouse, while the use of wood was used to acknowledge the Institute’s Ojibway history and culture. Glue laminated Douglas fir columns and beams create large overhangs and cantilevers that contribute to the efficiency of the building envelope. The circular conference room is an interpretation of the round house and is meant to accommodate traditional ceremonies as well as meeting space for the First Nations board.

Wood products have allowed the creation of a cost and energy efficient facility. The simple circular forms are powerful associative cues that allow Seven Generations to establish a distinct identity within the Rainy River district and reinforces its status as an inclusive learning institute that is looking to the future while fully acknowledging and building upon its Ojibway history and culture.