Design-build of two new museum buildings for the City of Fort Saskatchewan, where the extensive use of traditional materials and craft techniques were used to create comfortable, warm and modern teaching spaces.
In the spring of 2013 M&L were awarded the contract by the City of Fort Saskatchewan to lead a major design-build project to authentically reconstruct the stable, guardhouse, and divisional kitchen of the 1875-1885 North West Mounted Police (NWMP) Fort in Fort Saskatchewan Alberta. The reconstructed fort is part of the Fort Saskatchewan Museum and Historic Site which in addition to the NWMP exhibits maintains a series of historic buildings belonging to the associated settlement. M&L was tasked with completing the original 1875- 1885 fort layout by constructing a 120-ft long horse barn and 60-ft guardhouse / kitchen at the heart of the site.
The reconstructed buildings are large-scale exhibits that are designed to house the museum’s collections, and to act as year-round spaces for delivering educational programmes. Our design required a high degree of historical authenticity, while ensuring that the modern requirements of fully code-compliant and fully-conditioned public assembly spaces were achieved. This involved the examination and interpretation of a range of historic reference materials, including archival photographs, written accounts, and evidence form other comparable sites in the region. Ultimately, some 17,000 cubic feet of spruce logs were hand-hewn with broad axes at the M&L yard. An international team of 11x carpenters was assembled to achieve this during a six-week period prior to the cutting and pre-assembly of the buildings using Red River style log construction. The extensive use of traditional materials and traditional craft techniques serves to leverage the teaching opportunities of the site, while playing an important role in preserving these heritage skills.