Description of Historic Place
The Bunkhouse in the Skoki Ski Lodge National Historic Site of Canada in Banff National Park of Canada is a rustic style, simple one-room log structure with a gable roof extending over the entrance on log purlins to shelter the wooden stoop. It is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, adjacent to a glacier fed mountain stream and surrounded by a forest filled with spruce and white bark pine at an elevation of 2,164 metres in a clearing on the banks of Little Pipestone Creek. Along with three other guest cabins, it was built in 1936 by Earl Spencer for noted Banff guide, outfitter and log builder James Boyd, to accommodate the growing number of ski-tourists to the park and completes the site. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Bunkhouse is a Classified Federal Heritage building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Bunkhouse is a very good illustration of the national theme of recreation and tourism and its development in Canada’s National Parks. The first such facility to operate on a commercial basis in Canada, the bunkhouse, as part of the facility, was built specifically to cater to the growing number of ski-tourists in Banff National Park of Canada and represents the pioneering phase of skiing as a major recreational activity in North America. The lodge remains a major destination point within the park and the bunkhouse continues to accommodate park visitors from all over the world.
The Bunkhouse is a very good example of the rustic design tradition in Canadian national parks and winter resort construction. It serves as a unique example of an original traditional log design and construction using local materials and workmanship long associated with the Banff region.
The picturesque mountain setting around the Bunkhouse, the layout of the buildings and their relationship to each other, historic trails, footpaths and unspoiled setting reinforce its historical relationship to the site. The Bunkhouse remains on its original site to the west of the main building. It is along with four other guest cabins arranged in a semi-circle around the centrally placed main building and maintains its original physical and functional relationship to the other buildings, the site and its natural surroundings. The Bunkhouse and other cabins act as a visual landmark for tourists in the park and is a well known skiing and hiking destination for travellers. Access to the site has not changed, being restricted to traditional methods of transportation thus maintaining its original remote wilderness quality.
Sources: Kate Macfarlane, Skoki Ski Lodge, Banff National Park, Alberta. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 96-105; Bunkhouse, Skoki Ski Lodge, Banff National Park, Alberta, Heritage Character Statement 96-105.
The character-defining elements of the Bunkhouse should be respected.
Its rustic design tradition and traditional log design and construction as manifested in:
- its simple massing as a single-room with a gable roof, extended on log purlins over the entrance to shelter the stoop;
- its use of wood as the predominant construction material, mainly locally-hewn spruce logs;
- the walls of unscribed horizontal log construction with saddle-notched corners;
- door is centred on the front gable end;
- a single multi-paned window centred on each of the remaining three elevations;
- the patina of weathered wood;
- multi-paned windows, plank door, and the tongue-and-groove floorboards constructed of milled lumber;
- a wooden stoop and a rustic porch swing.
The manner in which the Bunkhouse contributes to the picturesque character of the mountain park setting.