KITASOO MULTI-FAMILY TOWNHOUSES (Totem House/Great Bear)
Klemtu, BC, 1988-90
"To the outside world this is
the GREAT BEAR Rainforest.
To us this is Home"
~ Kitasoo Xai'xais First Nation
Totem House provides affordable housing for a mix of residents that includes elders, small families and singles—in a facility owned and managed by the community. The project is located in Klemtu, a remote fishing village on the northwest coast of British Columbia. The area is home to the famous white Kermode (Spirit) Bear. Klemtu is on an island with steeply sloping terrain. It has a limited area of suitable land for new housing development.
The design concept for Totem House is reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest Coast native longhouse vernacular. The building occupies two single family lots rather than the standard five lots had single family homes been constructed. The building was designed to include artwork by local artists. Family crests (Blackfish, Eagle, Raven, Bear, and Wolf) mark the entries to the units. The totem adorning the front of the building and facing Trout Bay was the first house pole to be raised in the Klemtu community in 110 years.