Architectural Plans – Introduction

HIP Architects and David Murray Architects have been commissioned by UCAMA to prepare a feasibility study to investigate the relocation of UCAMA to the Lodge Hotel on Jasper Avenue. The aim of the study was to

  • Analyze the museum space needs and requirements,
  • Organize and relate them in the most appropriate manner,
  • Develop alternative 3D architectural concepts for accommodating the museum in the Lodge Hotel,
  • Prepare a preliminary project cost estimate,
  • Estimate the preliminary operational cost,
  • Prepare some revenue generating alternatives,
  • Prepare a financial analysis of the project,
  • Prepare a tentative schedule for implementing the project.

A number of meetings were arranged to discuss and present ideas to members of the Board and two stakeholder participation workshops were held to ascertain the aims and objectives for the new building. From these discussions a number of key design directions were established for the study. More importantly the emotional and long term aspirations for the facility were identified and the desire to provide a building that acknowledged and celebrated the contribution of Ukrainians to the development of Edmonton.

Architectural Plans – Existing Building

The Lodge Hotel has been an Edmonton landmark for a century and is designated as a historical municipal resource. The building has undergone a number of alterations and renovations during its lifetime all of which have contributed to the character and quality of the existing structure. Unfortunately the existing building is not suited for its intended revitalization into the UCAMA facility and major interventions are required to transform the building and create a facility that will last UCAMA another hundred years.

We have analyzed the ‘value’ of the existing building from its historical significance, its structural capability, its technical and spatial characteristics and the economic viability of re-use and identified the elements of the existing structure that will be retained as a collective memory of the evolution of the building.


The historic Pendennis Hotel is the site of the current Lodge Hotel. Prior to 1911, the wood-framed hotel was located in the west half of the site of the current hotel. An adjacent wood-framed building was located east of the hotel and was torn down to make way for the 1911 hotel. The original wood- framed hotel was incorporated into the new structure and remains embedded behind the brick facade.

Several historical photos of the Pendennis Hotel are available here courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Alberta and the Edmonton Archives.

Architectural Plans – Workshop Findings

Members of the UCAMA Board and the Ukrainian Folklore Centre at the University of Alberta and the Museum of the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada (UCWLC), Edmonton Eparchy were invited to two workshops with the architects to discuss the aspirations and requirements for the new facility. Participants were invited to explain the value of their collections and describe how they believed their collection should be displayed, archived, stored, restored and repaired and how the public were expected to interface with these functions. More importantly, participants were invited to explain the role their organisation plays in the identification and development of Ukrainian culture and the service they provided (and wished to provide) to the community.

It was apparent that the participants had a strong desire to develop a ‘model for small museum design in Canada’ and how inadequate their existing facilities were in providing the desired level of service to the public. The building should have a regional, national and international reputation and strive to provide a facility that celebrates the urban contribution of Ukrainians in a new land. Throughout the workshops a number of consistent themes and requirements emerged that are both emotive and figurative and begin to describe the design brief and the identity for the new building.

While it was accepted that the building would contain the principal functions of the ethnographic display, the library and the archive, what became apparent from the discussions was the requirement to develop a building that could accommodate a variety of functions and provide synergy to the activities within. The key design directors and characteristics were identified as follows,

‘…we want Edmonton’s Ukrainians to have a great facility’, appreciate and welcome community outreach programs, provide a strong educational component, impart our knowledge to a new generation, complement other Ukrainian cultural and historical facilities, celebrate the uniqueness of the collection, ‘a living breathing facility’ , hold international exhibitions, provide onsite parking, be flexible and responsive to change, multi-functional, growth potential, provide identity, engage with visitors, have a street presence, generate revenue, dynamic, welcoming to all ethnic groups, non institutional design, focus on the value of the collection, be innovative, provide cohesion to the components, integrity and honesty, to be elegant, to be accessible, inviting, memorable, the interaction of public and private areas…..

Architectural Plans – Concept Design

The concept design of the new facility has centred around a number of key directions and goals that have driven and informed the design process. While it is acknowledged that the design of the facility will evolve as the project proceeds, the following principals will remain a core component of our philosophy,

  • To provide a holistic approach to the preservation and revitalization of as much of the existing structure that is practically possible.
  • To develop a building that provides identity and recognition for the partners that will increase the public’s awareness and the museums visibility in the community.
  • To create a series of internal spaces that are truly memorable and inspiring that provide an appropriate backdrop to the collections and to the activities and functions contained within.

The design of the new interventions are modern in their approach and provide a contrast to the texture of the retained brick of the existing structure. The design values the existing structure and utilizes its form as an organizational and ordering device for the new museum.

The vacant portion of land to the east of the existing building will form the principal entrance from Jasper Avenue. The entrance brings visitors into a two story foyer containing a curved wall that provides an overview of the facility on the main floor while a balcony at the second floor level provides access to a donor recognition and founding members display wall. The curved wall leads visitors to the main circulation space which is devised as a four story atrium containing the main stair and elevator and provides access to all the component areas. The atrium brings light into the building from above while informing visitor circulation and orientation. The entry foyer also provides a secondary link and a strong visual connection to the ‘sculpture gallery’. This three story space is constructed above the ramp to the parkade at second floor level and is designed to display large objects from the ethnographic collection.

The facility is organized around these spaces in an open plan arrangement where possible. The main floor contains a temporary gallery, book / souvenir shop and an area for deliveries and cleaning and cataloguing of acquisitions. The second floor the main exhibition spaces, the third floor the library and archive and the fourth floor offices, boardroom and activity room.

It is the interaction of these three principal public areas, the foyer, the atrium and the sculpture gallery, that ensures the synergy and connection between the functions and enables the components of the facility to act as a whole.

Architectural Plans