The Chibougamau-Chapais airport is the gateway to the Eeyou Istchee James Bay region. It services a large territory that includes the communities of Chibougamau, Chapais and Oujé-Bougoumou. Faced with growing passenger traffic, a new terminal building was deemed necessary to meet the increasing demand. EVOQ Architecture + ARTCAD in joint venture designed the new terminal according to the latest standards to provide a seamless passenger experience and to express the aspirations and culture of the communities it services.
The new terminal building is composed of two low structures on either side of a glazed concourse. The latter serves as a central hub for passengers and connects all terminal functions and services, ensuring that they are easily identifiable and accessible. Its design establishes visual connectivity from the parking lot to the runway. Waiting travelers can watch their plane on the tarmac while others can monitor the pick-up and drop-off zone. This fluidity is further reinforced by the consistent use of materials and lighting treatment when moving from interior to exterior spaces. The exterior façade features the name of the airport in Cree and in French and is adorned with artwork by Emmanuelle Gendron cleverly integrated into the transparency of the timber curtain walls, paying homage to the Eeyou Istchee region.
Highlighting its proximity to the boreal forest, the terminal’s design showcases locally produced wood, particularly high-performance products such as glulam and cross-laminated timber (CLT) structural slabs. The waiting area is delimited on three sides by timber curtain walls topped by a raised roof forming a south-facing clerestory. The curtain walls provide natural light as well as improved energy efficiency and contribute to structural bracing, while the clerestory acts as a load-bearing axis, eliminating the need for a structural beam. The roof structure combines engineered wood and steel components. Stressed CLT panels spanning 12m are supported by wood columns at each end and reinforced with high-strength steel rods tying the centre to the extremities. This minimalist, highly efficient approach underlines the project’s core design principles: transparency, lightness, comfort, and functionality.