Nk’Mip Cultural Centre
The Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre is a celebration by the Osoyoos Indian Band of its historic landscape and the basis of a strategy to preserve it in perpetuity. However, the Centre resides in one of the most fragile environments in Canada. The desert landscape surrounding Osoyoos forms the northernmost tip of the Great American Desert, which extends as far south as Mexico.
Integral Group provided mechanical engineering services for the design of this award winning cultural centre. Passive solar design strategies reduced the need for mechanically driven air conditioning. Glazed sections were minimized on the south and west sides while the south façade tapers to reduce the exposed surface area. The habitable landscaped roof offers thermocycling advantages and allows a greater percentage of the desert landscape to be re-established on-site. Building site and orientation were key considerations for design. Embedding the east building face in the hillside helps to moderate the interior temperature while the heavy mass of the building’s concrete and earth walls remove heat during the day and return it at night time. To regulate the temperature more specifically, a radiant heating and cooling system was incorporated in the ceiling slabs, as well as an outdoor air displacement system.