Roy Henry Vickers gallery, Tofino

Roy Henry Vickers Gallery, Tofino

Roy Henry Vickers‘ gallery in Tofino, BC. The face of the building, similar to the style of a First Nations longhouse¬†or “plank house,” was painted and handcarved by the artist, whose background is Haida, Heiltsuk and Tsimshian.

Historically the abundance of Western red cedar (there’s one in front of the gallery) as well as other resources led to the development of a strong West Coast aboriginal architecture, a form we now see far too seldom. There are some beautiful examples though though which I’ll include later on.

From the Canadian Encyclopedia:

“Plank houses shared a number of structural characteristics, regardless of their builders. All employed varying forms of post-and-beam construction, which typically exploited the large lengths and dimensions of the red cedar. In the south, Salish-speaking peoples developed a shed-roofed variant that was characterized by a single roof pitch that sloped from front to back. The building’s frame system consisted of massive roof beams, often more than half a metre in diameter, which spanned the width of the house and varied in length from 7.5 to 15 m. These beams were supported by two rows of posts placed about 3.5 to 4 m apart. These beams were often carved to represent important family ancestors or supernatural beings associated with the family’s history. Overlapping roof planks were laid over pole rafters attached to the roof beams. Walls were clad with wide split-cedar planks tied horizontally between paired upright poles. In spring, these planks were usually removed and transported to standing frames at summer village sites.” More here.

Roy Henry Vickers Gallery, Tofino

Roy Henry Vickers Gallery, Tofino

Roy Henry Vickers Gallery, Tofino

Below, every element of the front has been hand-carved.

Roy Henry Vickers Gallery, Tofino

Roy Henry Vickers Gallery, Tofino

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