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Waskesiu Lake Beach House

1x1 architecture inc.

Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada

September 2021


Travis Cooke (Architect)


Crosier Kilgour & Partners (Structural Engineer), Daniels Wingerak Engineering Ltd (Mechanical Engineer), Ritenburg & Associates Ltd. (Electrical Engineer), Caterall & Wright (Civil Engineer), Reich & Petch (Exhibit Design


Parks Canada - Christine Hamilton, Asset Manager


Lisa Stinner-Kun


Parks Canada’s programme included requirements for a three-season washroom, shower and change facility that would be accessible for beach goers as well as a four-season washroom that would serve winter campers and cross-country skiers.

The single roof structure covers the seasonal change/shower rooms, the four-season washrooms, and extends further to create a canopy for a picnic area. The program is reflected on the exterior of the building by pushing and pulling the building elements to define spaces, entry points and create a natural sense of wayfinding. As users enter the washroom facilities under the low exterior soffit, the interior space opens up to an expansive open ceiling with skylights filling the room with natural light.

The minimal material palette is comprised of glazed concrete masonry units, thermally treated wood cladding and a translucent channel glass system. The black masonry provides a sharp contrast to the sand, water, and natural surroundings, while grounding the building. The wood cladding, soffit and deck boards recall the traditional boardwalk found within the park and common to beach waterfronts across Canada. The translucent channel glass system in the changerooms provides natural day light to the interior while obscuring views from the exterior.

The palette of interior finishes is modest and understated consisting of concrete block, plywood, and large format ceramic tile. A variety of playful interactive infographics are distributed throughout the site and building to engage beach goers on the vast array of local wildlife that make their home along the lakes shore.


The new Beach House is situated in the town of Waskesiu, which is located on the east side of Prince Albert National Park, approximately 125 miles north of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The Park is a popular destination with tourists, campers and seasonal residents for activities such as hiking, swimming, fishing, camping and canoeing. At the heart of the town is an expansive 2,000 foot long sandy beach on the shore of Lake Waskesiu.

The new Beach House replaces the previous 40 year old facility which was not accessible and in need of replacement. Positioned in the same location as the original, at the threshold of the beach and the pedestrian and vehicular network to the townsite, the building serves as a welcoming entry point for park patrons from the town to the beach.

From a planning perspective, the three-season and four-season components are detached from one another under a single, simple gable roof. The void between the two elements creates a dramatic framed view of the lake beyond, celebrating the design of the original 1975 building which had two narrow beach entry points along its façade. This ‘portal’ in the building serves as the main entry point for visitors of the beach. The framed view beyond is reminiscent of a picture-perfect postcard with potential glimpses of a lake sunset or a herd of elk wading in the water beyond.


The building has transformed what a typical park washroom building can be in rural Saskatchewan--- from a simple public restroom to a community gathering space. The original building was simply a washroom and shower facility. With the introduction of the covered area on the south side, the new structure has become a gathering space for visitors, allowing a place for beachgoers to socialize and host small events. The space also gets well utilized in the winter with cross country skiers.

The void between the two elements has become the focal point of the entire structure. Although users can access the beach from anywhere along its 2000 foot length, the majority of visitors access the beach through this 14 foot void, it somehow acts as an important transition space. By entering this compressed volume, it transforms you into another, more tranquil, space beyond.

With the integration of the exhibit design within the building, the structure acts as an extension of the visitor centre down the road. The playful exhibits allow families to learn about the local wildlife.

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