The Angles of Audain Art Museum

The Audian Art Museum in Whistler, BC is a stunning showcase of British Columbia art, offering breathtaking works from the province’s First Peoples through to its contemporary masters. It was established by Vancouver home builder and philanthropist Michael Audain over four years, beginning with an agreement in 2012 to construct a 25,000-square-foot museum to house Michael and Yoshiko Audain’s BC art collection—the area doubled to 56,000 square feet later in 2013.

The building’s interior and exterior steel stud framing, insulation, and interior and exterior drywall were completed by BCWCA member Nova Drywall Systems Inc., and earned the company the association’s 2016 Best Interior Project award.

The building was unique because it is a 56,000-square-foot, two-storey art museum built on the Fitzsimmons Creek food plain, said Ken Campbell, project manager for Nova Drywall Systems. The building is designed to withstand a 500-year flood of Fitzsimmons Creek by being build 15 feet off the ground.

“This meant that a significant amount of structural design was required to assure the performance of the exterior steel stud framing to ensure protection from not only flood and seismic events, but the extreme weather conditions that occur at a ski resort,” said Campbell.

To achieve this, the foundation is concrete and the lower floor is suspended on five concrete piers. “All of the work to the exterior and underside of the project had to be performed on scissor and boom lifts,” said Richard Newsham, chief estimator with Nova Drywall Systems. “When it rained this was not an easy task. The builder was also required to remove the fewest number of trees possible, so working between the trees and building was often a challenge.

Most of the interior steel stud and drywall work was completed on angles with walls reaching heights of 17 feet. The location where two off angles met was the location of the most challenge, said Newsham.

“On the exterior, having to work together with the engineer and the architect to provide the profiles that were expected along with maintaining structural integrity for wind and snow loads and conform to the seismic codes was not easy,” he said. “Our site superintendent and engineering firm deserve the credit for solving this puzzle.”

On the interior in the same location, the challenge was the same, compounded by people looking for straight lines and finished surfaces. “Again our supervisory team deserves all the credit here,” said Newsham.

“Nearly all areas are of a non-typical design and required skilled supervision and workers to create the off angles and sloped walls,” said Campbell. “All walls are to a level 5 finish.”

“Getting it right the first time” was the key to completing a level 5 finish in such a challenging environment, said Newsham. “Light checking 18’ high walls is the only way to make sure you have a flat surface. Our tradesmen gave us the finish that was demanded by the designer.”

“You can see the skill of the layout and framing crews, and the precision drywall required to create the high end product requirements of a museum that truly stands out among the world class buildings and architecture found in Whistler,” added Campbell.

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