Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre

Designed to bring affordability and community spirit to a small city on Vancouver Island’s east coast, Nuutsumuut Lelum provides 25 affordable suites for youth, elders, and families in three two-story Passive House buildings. With its long and low massing, the complex’s architecture references Northwest Coastal Indigenous longhouse buildings.

The Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre (NAC), the project’s developer, is a nonprofit whose work focuses on education and family, particularly for the diverse Indigenous community there that includes First Nations, Inuit, and Metis. Its programs and services are open to all Nanaimo residents but are planned with the urban Indigenous community in mind. “The forms and materials that are traditional to Indigenous people are what drove the design,” says David Simpson of dys architecture. NAC’s sustainability goals for the project—particularly cutting the rental housing’s energy use by meeting the Passive House standard—helped win community support. Read the full article here.