News / Calgary

Frank Lloyd Wright revival group seeks architect for Banff Pavilion plans

The Banff Pavilion could be rebuilt to modern building codes

This illustration shows the pavilion as it would’ve looked at construction.

Bill Ross

This illustration shows the pavilion as it would’ve looked at construction.

Wanted: one architect to collaborate with the most famous architect of all time.

Must be willing to work for free.

That’s the ask of the Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative – a not-for-profit group hoping to rebuild one of the architect’s early buildings in the town of Banff.

Michael Miner, director and founder of the initiative, said it might not be what some are expecting.

“Their first instinct is, ‘Oh great – I get to collaborate with Frank Lloyd Wright.’”

However, the group is devoted to bringing his buildings back to life as true to his original vision as possible.

That means the successful candidate would be taking original plans and bringing them up to 21st century standards, without adding their own flourishes.

“We need to adapt (the plans) to make the working drawings more easy to follow,” said Miner.

Frank Lloyd Wright was contracted to design the Banff Pavilion after 1911, when automobiles access was first extended to the park. It was built in 1913 and demolished in 1939.

It was about 200 feet in length by 50 feet in width, with open space and public washrooms.

Bill Ross

It was about 200 feet in length by 50 feet in width, with open space and public washrooms.

The one major concern to overcome is snow load. When the pavilion was originally built, there were no building codes. Now the structure needs to be built to withstand two tonnes of snow on the roof.

Miner said after consulting with Lloyd Wright’s grandson, who is also an architect, they believe the snow problem can be overcome by using steel roof trusses which would then be covered with wood to achieve the original look.

The group has tentative interest from the Town of Banff, but it’s not a sure thing yet.

Jennifer Laforest, Banff town planner, said the space where the pavilion was is now a public park.

Council has asked for and is awaiting a detailed proposal from Miner’s group.

“Council’s expectation is that there would be no impact,” she said.

Miner said much of the plan is coming together, including an offer of free lumber. He hopes to start construction in spring of 2019.

If constructed, the building would likely be donated to the town or another group once completed.

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