Perched along a rocky ridge ringed by scattered pine and birch, the exterior of this 5-star resort, located across Great Slave Lake from Yellowknife, was inspired by the Gyrfalcon, the provincial bird of the Northwest territories, and designed to form a backdrop to the dramatic display of the aurora borealis. Year-round outdoor activities are focused on the short winter days and 24-hour daylight in summer.
Responding to the challenge of building in a climate as cold as -50 C in the winter and as warm as +30 C in the summer, a palette of corrugated metal siding and fibre cement panels employs materials common to the area but configured in unexpected ways. They create an off-white background that nestles the building into its snow-covered site. Wood-like panels create a sense of warmth and welcome at the entry.
The program of 55 guest rooms and 7 individual guest cottages is augmented by a restaurant, convention and recreational facilities, with a spa wing that cantilevers out over the entry. A crystalline, all glass lounge surmounts the upper floor, offering a clear view of the northern lights from within.