Architects love Fernie Courthouse
The Architecture Foundation of British Columbia (AFBC) November 17 announced the winners of ‘B.C.’s Best Buildings Contest,’ and Fernie’s stately courthouse is near the top.
The contest, which marked 100 years of architecture as a profession in B.C., received more than 450 nominations from around the world. People were then invited to vote online for their favourite buildings, identifying the most popular, and the top 25 in each of the four regions – Interior, Vancouver Island, Northern and Southern. From those top 25, a panel of judges met to assess the nominations against the criteria of appearance, sentimental value, historical significance and originality.
The panel of judges, made up of noted B.C. historian and heritage expert Michael Kluckner, journalist and architectural aficionado Shelley Fralic, and award winning architect David M. Hewitt, AFBC Chair, met and determined regional winners and runners up. The owners of the winning buildings will receive a plaque for mounting on their buildings and the runners up will receive a special certificate.
“We all have our favourite buildings. Buildings with architectural lines we love, old houses with never-forgotten memories within their walls and shops that invite us in; buildings that hold special significance and have become a touchstone i our lives. The Foundation wanted British Columbians to recognize and celebrate those special buildings across the province,” Hewitt stated.
The top three buildings chosen for the Interior are: #1 – Seabird Island School, Agassiz; #2 – Fernie Courthouse, Fernie; #3 – The Langham Cultural Centre, Kaslo.
The judges felt it was important to note the significant fact that all the winners in this category were community-gathering places, spanning a century of building and reflecting enduring stories of B.C.’s history and peoples.
A number of century-old provincial courthouses were nominated, but the judges cited Fernie as the best for its dramatic site and its remoteness from the province’s centre of power.
Seabird Island School is exemplary for its response to First Nations values and contemporary educational demands.
The Langham Centre in Kaslo is the only nominated site recalling the Japanese- Canadian internment during the Second World War.