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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Driven by nature : a holistic approach to analysis and design of the Whistler Nordic Centre Dupont, Paul Christian


Standard planning, engineering, architecture, and construction methods are too often a means of development for a generic site program and design unaware of the inherent site condition, context, and character. In response, landscape planning and design must be receptive and adaptive to the natural character and spirit of the place, in order to enhance the social, economic, ecological, and experiential qualities of the site. The distinction of the Whistler Nordic Centre proposal of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Bid provides the opportunity to explore the realm of landscape design possibilities in light of a magnificent recreation park project. The site analysis integrated a multidisciplinary iterative approach of thorough scientific and experiential planning and design site investigations, observations, and hypotheses. The selection of three design hypotheses and the subsequent testing of these hypotheses against specific site design criteria formed the basis for the selection and evaluation of a design solution in consideration of the intrinsic site conditions and intended site purposes. The process developed a comprehensive understanding of the landscape and program, in order to effectively determine the proper locations, orientations, and connections of the Ski Jump, Biathlon Range, and Cross Country Stadium. The meticulous planning and design considerations enlightened the development of a range of essential design imperatives to consider sense of arrival, experience of place, experience of events, preservation of nature, preservation of character, vision of the whole, image of the games, seasonality of use, response to climate, and legacy opportunities. The imperatives of design exemplified the level of detail consideration envisioned for the eventual successful design of the Whistler Nordic Centre. The experience of the project process provided recommendations for the importance of the vision of the project as a whole, through the provision of a central lodge facility, the deliberate consideration of tourism planning and opportunities for the site, and the careful consideration as to the location and proximity of the Olympic Village.

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