cape breton HIghlands National PArk Gridshell

Highlands Gridshell August 2019

Highlands Gridshell August 2019


Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Date: 2015 - ongoing


Parks Canada, Atlantic Woodworks


This is the fifth gridshell from the collaborative series between Dalhousie University, University of Arizona, University of North Carolina Charlotte, and University of Louisiana Lafayette. 

Parks Canada and Coastal Studio are partnering to build a nature-themed pavilion that will accommodate a range of events within the Cape Breton Highlands National Park campground site. The building, at its essence a landscape response, acts as a destination for park users, and as a gateway to nature. The project is located at the tip of the upper campground, adjacent to the headquarters site, and at the trailhead of the salmon pool trails. When one approaches the building site from the north, he or she is invited to a fork in the road, to the left is the continuation of the salmon pool trail, and to the right is the main entry to our building under construction. 

The building consists of long north and south earth berms, with a single wooden gridshell roof as the central feature. This open-air building contains programmatic elements located both underneath the roof of the structure and within the vicinity of the adjacent forest. The major events hosted within the structure will include weddings, community gatherings, interpretive tours, film viewing, and nature-learning sessions. Furthermore, the building will enhance the knowledge and experience of its users while simultaneously connecting them to the surrounding habitat- whether to the treasures in the deciduous forest or the constellations in the night sky, or to what is buried under their feet, or hidden in the streams.