A Rocky Mountain High at Barrier Lake Visitor Information Centre

Renovations that embrace exceptional design and functionality—while retaining a building’s integrity and important features— are just the type of projects that inspire us and exceed expectations!

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The Barrier Lake Visitor Information Centre in the heart of Kananaskis Provincial Park was originally built in the 1980s. The client wanted to enhance flow and function to address visitor traffic congestion and better inspire visitors as they explore and engage with information. Additional private offices were required and there were obvious opportunities to creatively repurpose existing materials and fixings.

We were respectful of the existing building’s design and architecture, while modernizing the interior. The interior cedar panelling had aged and coloured into a beautiful honey patina. Any panels removed during demolition were salvaged to reuse on a new wall erected, creating a seamless match. We kept the aged-leather upholstery on the built-in sunken sofa for the rich and weathered look that complements the mountain-modern aesthetic. We also removed unused built-in planters. A modern millwork forest was designed to act as a railing around the sunken rest area. The rich green accent colour, inspired by the Alberta Parks logo, highlights a few of the “trees”.

New grey, concrete-look tiles make the warm tone of the existing woodwork richer in stark contrast to the white quartz counters and black slate-look laminate surfacing, all creating strong focal points and classic, timeless appeal.

The new long reception counter includes stand-up and sit-down service zones to meet the needs of staff and visitors with mixed abilities. Wood-look accent tiles on the front of the service areas cascade onto the floor guiding visitors where to go.

In addition to the unusual choice of a charcoal Forbo pin-board wall-covering at the front entrance, we designed a moveable navigation table with storage for maps and brochures. The table includes a central channel for electrical accommodations, pop-out outlets for charging and lift-up Plexiglas panels to protect maps and information that is changed seasonally. The table is made of wood, quartz, and Plexiglas with metal hardware and locking casters.

We hope you have the opportunity to visit this striking and functioning space; it’s well at home in the heart of Alberta’s natural beauty.