Nanaimo Cruise Ship Terminal Building


Nanaimo, BC
14,000 sf
Completed 2011

This signature cruise ship terminal facility set a new standard for buildings in Nanaimo. Situated on the edge of the Nanaimo Assembly Wharf, it contains a large welcome centre/multi-purpose hall, facilities for the Canadian Border Services Agency and offices for the Nanaimo Port Authority.

The building site was formerly used for the processing and storage of the wood products that were the lifeblood of the region. A connection is made to the past by employing a variety of wood products including large curved glulam columns and beams, interior and exterior wood screens, and stratified timber panels. These materials echo the region’s rich natural resources and make the main hall reminiscent of a giant ship’s hull. Large glass walls open up the hall to panoramic views of the Nanaimo harbour.

The building employs a passive solar scheme, where sunlight enters through the extensive glazing, warms the stone floor and slowly releases heat which circulates before exiting through louvers at the top of the building.

Working with local artist Noel Brown, a custom artwork was commissioned and printed onto a large roll-screen. This screen can be raised or lowered to alter the configuration of the main hall. A native plant garden, designed by landscape architect Nancy Mackin, is positioned between the building and the water’s edge. Light bounces off a linear water feature and is reflected up into the main hall.

Checkwitch Poiron had less than 12 months to design and build this project, and by working closely with the contractor the project came in on time on and on budget. 


First 2 photos by Vancouver Island Landscapes. All other photos by HA Photography, except photo 6 by Mark Corbett and photo 7 by Ben Checkwitch.


2012 North American Wood Design Awards – Citation
2012 Shaw Contract Design Is... Award
2012 Canadian Wood Works! Award – British Columbia – Best Commercial Wood Design
2012 World Architecture News Awards – Transport Long List
2012 Vancouver Island Real Estate Board – Best Office
2012 Glass Magazine – Most Innovative Curtain Wall


Canadian Architect – March 2016, p.18
Award Magazine - April 2016, p.7
2012-2013 North America Wood Design Award Winners
2011-2012 North America Wood Design Award Winners, p108-113.
Shaw Contract Group Design Is 2012, p.86.
Svenskt Trä! (Swedish Wood) 2012 #4, p.27-29
Award Magazine - 2011 June