Located in the heart of Stz’uminus Community, the Nutsumaat Education Centre stands as a testament to the unity and rich heritage of the Coast Salish people. “Nutsumaat,” meaning “together as one,” embodies the community’s commitment to collective growth, shared experiences, and leadership. Situated within the traditional territory on the east side of Vancouver Island, the Centre supports 1,300 nation members, providing a welcoming community space for both youth and adults.

Our team met with staff, students, and community members during various working sessions to understand what their current needs are and listen to their exciting plans for the future. Through this process, we established that the Centre should be more than just an educational facility; it should inspire creativity, cultivate connection, and foster a sense of belonging within the community. 

To bring this vision to life, the 2,200 sq ft, open-plan space was designed with careful consideration. It includes coworking desks, private offices, modular furniture, storage, and shelving to meet their current needs while accommodating their future plans to transform the Centre into an art gallery and event space open to the public after work hours. To accommodate all visitors, from young children to community elders, we added soft furnishings that add warmth and comfort to the space while mitigating noise levels for a quiet, tranquil atmosphere.

Reflecting on the deep connection between the Stz’uminus Nation, surrounding water and wider environment, we chose a palette of blues and greens, warm earthy tones and natural wood. We sourced stone countertops from Vancouver Island’s marble quarry and worked closely with local lumber yards for the walls, beams, tongue and groove ceilings. The majority of furnishings and fixtures were sourced locally too, including the modular furniture. 

The overall design of the space was inspired by formline and relief carving techniques, incorporating crescents, circles and curves to create a harmonious design that flows seamlessly from one area to the next. The space was brought to life by a collection of Indigenous artwork and artifacts that includes a linen and tumuth wall hanging, carvings by Eric Johnny and Spirit Works and prints by Klatle Bhi and Dion Daniels. Many of these pieces sit on the entryway shelving against a backdrop of vibrant blue, offering visitors a warm welcome into the new Nutsumaat Education Centre.


Stz'uminus First Nation, Vancouver Island






Guy Ferguson


Stz'uminus Education Society


Local One Construction