Vancouver Maritime Museum - The Lighthouse

Student

Natalie Nguyen and Boris Chan

ARCH 521

The current Vancouver Maritime Museum was established a year after the RCMP vessel St. Roch, an arctic explorer which had performed the west-to-east voyage through the Northwest passage retired and permanently placed in a dry dock in Kitsilano in 1958. The boat was originally kept outdoors, but with the establishment of the museum, an A-frame structure was also constructed to protect it. The expansion of the Vanier Park by means of reclamation further detached the vessel’s direct connection to the water. To regain the connection to the water and negotiate the imminent threat of the rising sea level in the coming years, we are proposing the construction of a tall, lighthouse-like building at the tip of the breakwater as the new home to the museum. The monolithic concrete tower lifts all artefacts from the water and provides tight environmental and lighting control required for the preservation of the delicate artefacts. A secondary “glass display case” structure cantilevering off the concrete structure will house the St. Roch and allow it to “hover” above the water, offering a contrasting experience to the visitors of the museum and at the same time remind the public of the threats of the sea-level rise.