Case Study: McMurray Métis Cultural Centre

About This Project

With a mass timber structure, carbon-sequestering concrete, and photovoltaic cladding, the McMurray Métis Cultural Centre in Fort McMurray, Alberta, is among the first Carbon Zero buildings in the heart of Canada’s Oil Sands. The Centre is targeting a One Planet Living endorsement and features include geo-piles and earth tubes to regulate temperature and a biomass boiler to provide carbon-neutral heat.

Designed by Mindful Architecture, the building takes the form of the infinity loop, a key symbol for the Métis people. Visible on Google Earth, the building’s shape marks the land as Métis territory. The east arc features a 500-seat amphitheatre, a place to gather around a fire and share stories. The west arc spirals upward to a rooftop terrace with views of the Athabasca River and Moccasin Flats.

Scope of Services

The Centre was designed to support expressions of Métis culture, and our acoustical team focused its efforts on achieving this key project goal. We tailored the acoustics of the theatre, museum, multipurpose rooms, offices, meeting rooms, and wellness space to make the Centre an ideal venue for sharing stories about the history and culture of the Métis people.

Working closely with the project team, we delivered thoughtful design recommendations to meet provincial technical requirements and create an acoustical environment that supports the cultural and administrative functions of the building.

We developed acoustically absorbent interior finish recommendations to control reverberation and promote speech intelligibility and acoustical comfort. We analyzed the architectural drawings and provided guidance on selecting wall assemblies; construction materials; and doors, seals, and hardware to provide sufficient sound isolation between spaces for privacy and suitably low background noise levels.

We also advised on selecting an air handling system, isolating mechanical and electrical equipment from vibration, and HVAC system upgrades to control background noise levels to promote speech clarity in key spaces.

Project Benefits

At BKL, we help design teams understand how acoustics can benefit their projects. We identify the acoustical risks and deliver insightful, innovative solutions. Using a responsive, tailored approach, our large team of acousticians assists at all stages, from planning to post-construction. We help designers create spaces where acoustics achieve compliance while supporting aesthetics, function, and user experience.

At the McMurray Métis Cultural Centre, we helped create spaces with warm, natural acoustics that support storytelling and oral knowledge sharing. We worked with the design team to listen carefully and incorporate Métis values into the acoustical design.



We are pleased to recommend BKL for their contributions to the acoustical design of the McMurray Métis Cultural Centre. BKL’s team of skilled acousticians brought a deep level of expertise and a thoughtful approach that was aligned with our vision. Their insightful recommendations were rooted in extensive experience and we appreciated their receptivity to our innovative strategies. BKL took the time to thoroughly understand the goals and significance of our project and their commitment to excellence and sensitivity to our values made them an asset to our project’s success.

– Mindful Architecture


2023 Larsen Architecture Awards Most Innovative Project of the Year

Photo by Mindful Architecture

Year completed

Under construction

Capital Cost

$74.7 million

Total Area

50,000 square feet

Case Studies, Cultural