Wood Design Photo Series: Austria Passive House Whistler

On a recent visit to Whistler, BC (yep, the place where the 2010 Winter Olympics were held), I had the fortune to be given an impromptu tour of the Austria Passive House, a building constructed for the Olympics and used as “home base” for Austrian media during the events. This 2700 s.f., two-story building is frequently called the “first certified passive house in Canada” and its purpose is to showcase passive-house technology to the Canadian public.

Built by a combination of local general contractors and engineers and a variety of Austrian fabricators (see the website below for a list), this house was also an opportunity to showcase European building technologies and test their feasibility within the Canadian building framework. As a result, it features wood-dowel-laminated solid wood walls, triple-glazed windows, a geothermal heat pump and much more.

While the architecture of the house is a modernized version of the classic wooden chalet, it is a beautiful example of modern wooden house design.

On a side note: It is always interesting to see what happens to a building after some time of use. While this one currently transfers its occupancy from “official” national house to a home for bikers and cross-country skiers, it has apparently received a not-fully-styled wheelchair ramp. Hopefully there will be money available to turn this rather temporary-looking solution into something nicer later.


There is also a nice YouTube video that shows the construction process:


Location: Whistler, BC, Canada

Built: 2009

Architect: Treberspurg & Partner Architekten, Wien, Austria

Engineer: Equilibrium Consulting, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Fabricator: Sohm Holzbautechnik, Alberschwende, Austria


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