After the Tsawout Nation lost their Longhouse in a devastating fire in 2009, rebuilding of their cultural home is underway. The new Big House will be a cultural gathering place, a home for the revitalization of cultural practices, a place for traditional teaching and learning, and a place for the revitalization of traditional social structures. This beautiful multi-purpose building is over 14,000 square feet and soars at a height of nearly 45 ft with its built-in smoke vent roofing. It is constructed of mass timber posts and trusses, which were partially assembled using traditional methods and sourced locally, adding to its sustainability.

The Longhouse is equipped with its own kitchen and includes a generously sized dining area, further upholding the Nation’s spirit of hosting meaningful gatherings. The building lot itself is perched 325 ft above sea level, offering spectacular views of the Cordova Channel and mountain ranges beyond. Furthermore, it uses a modern engineered design for stormwater management, via rain gardens and rock pits which minimize the impact of water runoff on the surrounding environment.

Gwaii’s scope of work: GWAII worked with the Nation to pull teams together and assisted with the funding applications to make the project more viable. GWAII is now overseeing the project management on their new ceremonial longhouse which is slated for completion later this year. Over the last 1.5 years, Gwaii has been on-site overseeing the site servicing and drainage works. Recently, Gwaii was asked to design a parking lot, access road, and rain garden to accompany the site.