Nestled against a backdrop of trees with views of the water, the Stz’uminus Thuq’min Outdoor Education Building stands as a testament to the rich heritage of the Coast Salish people. The building is a bridge between nature and education, offering the Stz’uminus School and community a place to learn, gather, and connect with one another.
We renovated the existing structure on the site, updating the exterior with cedar trim, siding and a deck. The cedar is locally sourced from a nearby Stz’uminus First Nation-owned mill and the shelving inside, which now showcases rotating work from students, came from an old tree that had to be removed from the site. Each piece of wood used at Thuq’min tells an important story of heritage and sustainability.
Step inside and you’ll find flexible meeting areas, amphitheatre-style circular seating, a presentation space, a full kitchen, storage, and washrooms with a custom mural by local artist Jason Harris. Thuq’min shares the same design principles that guided our first completed project with Stz’uminus First Nation, the Nutsumaat Education Centre. Both spaces celebrate Coast Salish design elements, expertly weaving together crescents, circles, and intricate patterns that pay homage to the artistic heritage of the community. These elements, inspired by relief carvings, are thoughtfully integrated to create distinct seating areas that invite visitors to relax and collaborate in an atmosphere that is both soothing and inspiring. To seamlessly merge the indoor and outdoor, we incorporated greenery, raised garden beds, textures and a careful selection of blue, green and gold shades that mirror the landscape.
Stz’uminus Community School has partnered with Take a Hike Foundation to create a new outdoor education curriculum. Delivered at Thuq’min, the program is a land-based, holistic learning experience that combines academics, language and cultural teachings. Supported by teachers, a therapeutic clinical counsellor and a youth care worker, the program is committed to play, creativity, healing and hands-on learning for Grade 10 to 12 students in the community. Thuq’min embodies this unique and powerful curriculum, offering a safe, tranquil space for youth to grow, explore, collaborate and connect deeply to the land and their culture.
Beyond its educational role, the building also stands as a haven for elders, community members, and education staff to gather, share stories, and inspire each other. With every curve, every piece of cedar, and every design element, the Stz’uminus Thuq’min Outdoor Education Building emphasizes the importance of knowledge, tradition, and innovation.
- Stz'uminus First Nation, Vancouver Island
- Guy Ferguson
- Stz'uminus Education Society
- Local One Construction