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Waap Galts'ap Design & Construction

Nancy Mackin
Waap Galts’ap project architect, landscape and interior designer and prime consultant

“As part of the design process, I envisioned the building in three dimensions, working within Tsimshian longhouse histories, and presented coloured design sketches to Stephanie Forsyth, the Council of Elders, and artists Dempsey Bob and Stan Bevan. Their ideas were brought into the design for the building. I then led our team of consulting engineers to produce the working drawings for the building. I followed the project through all stages of construction, working with instructors and students from the building technology program until David Oleksewich came on board in summer 2009. The team process involving the community, the College, artists, construction personnel, and consultants has worked very well and has been a key to the success of the project.”

“On a daily basis, I envision Waap Galts’ap will be a place where students, faculty, and members of the community can meet to expand their knowledge and share ideas. On celebratory occasions, Waap Galts’ap will be a place for memories: for the recording of new stories and events as well as the retelling of oral history.” 

“The longhouse is a culmination of years of research and practice in designing buildings and landscapes with First Nations communities. The greatest significance of the building itself: the longhouse architecture reflects Tsimshian ecological wisdom; the building brings art, architecture, and ecology together in a unique way that reflects the community’s connection to the land and to education.”  

“On May 8, I am most looking forward to transforming the building into a living entity so it can become a place to transform education while serving as a meeting place for the community.”

David Oleksewich
Waap Galts’ap project manager

“I am the project manager on the Waap Galts’ap construction and my role is to oversee and coordinate the construction of the Longhouse; to be the liaison between the architect and consulting engineers and the owner; to tender all aspects of the work; to prepare construction estimate and provide cost control; to schedule the work; and to perform quality control.” 

“I believe this building emphasizes First Nations culture in the College community and hopefully provides a conduit for students to fulfill their dreams and aspirations.” 

“This project has given us an opportunity to work on a unique building which incorporates a traditional longhouse design and utilizes the use of natural local wood products.” 

“On May 8, I’m most looking forward to seeing the reaction from people viewing the building for the first time.”

Higgs Murphy
NWCC Log & Timber Frame Craftsman instructor, Waap Galts’ap lead-hand log builder, material acquisitions manager and structural consultant

“In the short time we had to actually build the structure, I planned and led the activities of a half a dozen peeler/sanders and four log builders. The final stages of construction and log raising overlapped the Fall 2009 Timber Frame course by a couple of weeks so it became necessary to involve the timber frame students in a small portion of the joinery and all of the raising. The log work portion of the project was completed on time, something I'm quite proud of. The students, while initially reluctant to see my attention diverted from their timber framing course, fully participated in all aspects of the raising, working side-by-side with the professionals and received tremendous benefits in the process.”

“I hope the Waap Galts’ap structure brings joy to all the peoples of this diversified community and serves to draw them closer together.”

“The building of Waap Galts’ap was certainly a challenge for me, not because the joinery was anything special, it was more about finding solutions to problems at hand and working with a diverse group of individuals. Leadership is about utilizing the abilities you have and searching for the ones you lack while maintaining a steady eye on the end goal, which must be achieved. A difficult task reminds us that we are not perfect and must indeed work with our imperfections to improve and succeed. We learn from the people we teach and so it should be.”

“As a craftsman, I was perhaps the most secure, comfortable in my abilities, interested and absorbed in my task. Perhaps most significant to me were comments from the other sub-trades involved in the project, indirectly received, to the effect that this guy knew his stuff. It doesn't get any better than that".

“At the official opening, I look forward to seeing the happy faces of all who took part in the conception, planning and direction and construction of Waap Galts’ap.  It's been a long haul and everyone can feel justifiably proud in the role they have played.”