Friday, October 22, 2021

Video provides glimpse into Chatham House revitalization project

A celebration of a Prince Rupert landmark is underway 
as work continues on the Chatham Building on First Avenue West
(photo from PRPA)

A video released by the Prince Rupert Port Authority is providing a fascinating glimpse into a significant renovation project underway in the city's downtown core, with the  Chatham Building Complex the focus for the vignette.

The Chatham building is one of Prince Rupert’s most iconic architectural landmarks and the long house  has made for the backdrop for many photos from visitors and locals alike over the years. 

In the last year or so the building  has undergone the first phase of a revitalization project aimed at protecting the multi-use building from the elements. 

In a statement from the Prince Rupert Port Authority how the funding for the project came together was relayed; the work made possible through a partnership between the Prince Rupert Port Authority’s (PRPA) Community Investment Fund and the Museum of Northern British Columbia (MNBC), with additional funding from the complex’s strata partner Gitxaala Nation. 

The notes on the work highlighting its architectural significance  as well as the challenges the structure has faced.

"Designed and constructed in the style of a traditional cedar longhouse, the Chatham Building is Prince Rupert’s finest example of northwest Indigenous architecture. 

However, over time the structure’s membrane had begun to fail and critical restoration work was necessary to stop rain from seeping through the roof. 

Through a $125,000 contribution from PRPA’s Community Investment Fund, the gutters have been replaced and new copper and metal flashing has been added to the exterior of the building’s immense posts and beams. “

Shaun Stevenson, President and CEO, Prince Rupert Port Authority also observed as to the many uses that  the facility provides for the community and 

"The Chatham Building is an anchor attraction for tourism in the region, and serves as a local community hub for cultural, recreational, and educational services and programs. We are delighted that one of the benefits of Port growth is contributing to its ongoing legacy, so that visitors and residents alike can continue to appreciate the building for both its stunning architectural form and many community-related functions.” 

Among those functions,  the complex is home to  the Museum of Northern British Columbia's world-renowned collections, exhibits, and programming that reflects the rich culture and heritage of the Northwest Coast, particularly First Nations’ art and history. 

The importance of the work taking place was also a topic for Susan Marsden, the Museum's Director to take note of.

"Thanks to the support of the Prince Rupert Port Authority’s Community Investment Fund, Chatham House will remain a fixture of Prince Rupert’s urban landscape for decades to come, and will allow our organization to continue to offer world-class cultural and educational experiences to the thousands of people who come through our doors each year”

As well, the Chatham Building also currently houses the Gitxaala Education Centre, Gitxaala Environmental Stewardship, Prince Rupert Gymnastics Club, PAC 10 Tutoring, as well as art, dance, and yoga studios. 

The video which you can view below, it features some commentary from featuring longtime Museum of Northern BC Board member Ric Miller – Nisgitlo’op of the Eagle Clan of the Kitselas.

He provides for a detailed review of the revitalization of the project and how they have addressed the challenges that the work has provided for 

More on the work can be explored through the PRPA website.

For more notes on the Port's Community Infrastructure program see our archive page here.

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