Historic Waterton Lakes National Park gets a new Visitor Centre

Photos. Angus MacKenzie Photography

Located in Southern Alberta where the prairies meet the Rocky Mountains, Waterton Lakes stands as one of the most majestic & historic of the countries National Parks. Running 11 km (6.9 mi) south into Montana, Waterton Lake holds the record for deepest lake in the Rockies & Alberta at 487 ft. Other trivia includes induction as a World Heritage Site in 1995 and recognition as the second Canadian Biosphere Reserve in 1979.

Waterton Lakes National Park Visitor Centre overlooking amphitheater & firepit

In addition to the Park’s extensive historical footprint, Waterton also plays out as a brilliant ecological & geographical destination. So to properly educate & inform the park’s 500,000 annual visitors a new Visitor Interpretive Centre was designed.

Waterton Lakes National Park Visitor Centre extensive use of natural materials

Designed by FWBA Architects the new interpretive centre was designed to live harmoniously within the context of the town and surrounding areas. Built of large timber forms and matching Vimy Ridge’s eastern profile, the low-slung building incorporates outdoor interpretive elements on the south side and a sheltered outdoor amphitheater on the east. Inside the Interpretive Hall, visitors are greeted with a variety of interactive elements showcasing the area’s indigenous history, geographical trivia & region’s diverse array of flora & fauna.

A full photographic treatment capturing the Centre’s key architectural details is available below.

To learn more about Waterton Lakes National Park & the Visitor Centre visit MyWaterton or Parks Canada.

Waterton Lakes National Park Visitor Centre main entry
Waterton Lakes National Park Visitor Centre amphitheater & firepit
Waterton Lakes National Park Visitor Centre mini Red Rocky Canyon interactive component
Visitor Centre main entrance & coutyard
Waterton Lakes National Park Visitor Centre
Timber forms set to mimic natural alignments
Courtyard & entrance dusk
Use of natural materials is reflective of the style typical of Parks Canada buildings
Mountain sheep are one of many fast footed forest creatures populating Waterton
Interpretive Hall interior
Large windows implemented throughout
The Centre is broken into three individual areas (hall, admin, washrooms) resembling a town plaza
Natural stone & wood elements illuminated by floor to ceiling window treaments
Interpretive Hall Interactive components
Teeny tiny dioramas showcase the town in context of the Rockies
Sheep of the mountains
Centre’s Dark-Sky friendly lighting supports the park’s recently attained International Dark Sky Association designation
Interpretive Hall
Interpretive Hall
Interactive educational elements populate the site’s southern landscaping
Visitor Centre, southwest corner towards the Rockies
Architectural intention as building’s descending roofline matches near perfectly Vimy Peak’s geographic lines

Angus Mackenzie

Canadian born automotive & architectural photographer. elemente magazine was born in 2006 as a Canadian national design publication . It remains as an online entity.

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