YUKON HOT SPRINGS (Ancient Waters)
Towards An Eco Village Resort
Formerly Takhini Hot Springs Resort, 2004-22
"If there is magic on the planet, it is contained
in THE WATER."
~ Loren Eisley
We developed a sustainable concept plan that embraces architecture, energy conservation and the natural environment to transform an existing hot spring facility into a vibrant destination eco village green community resort. The Yukon Hot Springs Resort recognizes (in both design and services) that human health is interconnected with environmental health.
The project is Canada's most energy-efficient, sustainable green resort. The resort's design is based on ECOlibirum principles. It employs true geo-thermal heating and other energy efficient and renewable design strategies including PVC collectors, grey water separation and water conservation, heat recovery (HRV), recycling, and supergreen envelopes with R100 roof insulation, R48-60 double walls, R40 slab and perimeter insulation, and triple and quadruple high performance windows.
MASTER PLANNING OVERVIEW
"The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician." ~ Paracelsus
For millennia, people worldwide have used hot springs for their restorative, natural healing and mystical powers. The Takhini Hot Springs therapeutic value was long recognized by local First Nations. Over the last century, the warm waters have soothed many Yukoners. In recent years, Yukon Hot Springs Resort (formerly Takhini Hot Springs-THS) has become a popular venue for international and local visitors alike, not only to bask in the hot pools, but also to view the awe-inspiring Northern Lights in winter or experience the magic of the Midnight Sun during the summer months. The area’s stunning scenery, unique ecosystem, diverse climate, easy access and proximity to Whitehorse all contribute to the attraction of THS as a destination resort.
PLANNING FOR SUSTAINABILITY: TOWARDS AN ECO VILLAGE RESORT
Broadway Architects were first retained in the early 2000's to assist the Resort owners to:
- Create an overall vision and design theme for the resort and comprehensive development plan which protects and enhances the natural, historical and cultural environment of this special area in the Yukon;
- Define specific architectural and environmental guidelines to produce indigenously based buildings — using local materials and consistent design — sympathetic to the natural setting
Broadway Architects Environmental Design Concept Plan for Takhini Hot Springs Resort provides a framework for the wise management of all THS Resort property to ensure that all growth integrates with and be sympathetic to wilderness setting.
Takhini Master Concept Plan 2005
The Green Resort Concept Plan provides specific recommendations for all future physical development. It defines an “eco-based” vision for the Resort, and outlines the goals and desired future land use character within the lands. All facility and infrastructure development at Takhini Hot Springs Resort will be centred on an appreciation of the environmental, historical and cultural attributes of the area and will be designed to enhance the beauty and ecological integrity of the area.
Quite simply, "sustainability" is based on the notion that human activity takes place in the present without depleting natural resources or degrading the natural environment for the future.- in seeking to live in ECOlibrium with the natural world. Sustainability is the guiding principle for all developments at the resort.
It integrates planning, architecture and environmental design through such measures as:
- Efficient use of land, reuse and restoration of impacted areas
- Orientation and design of buildings to take advantage of solar gain for space and water heating
- Utilization of local resources, materials, labour & local participation, green construction
- Application of the best principles of thermal efficiency in all buildings, green building
- Using the sun and earth resources including wind, biomass, and the geothermal (geo-exchange) resource as alternative energy sources
Environmental stewardship encompasses all aspects of Resort operations, from the initial design of new buildings to incorporate sustainable building practices, to effective waste management for the Resort including recycling and composting – all of which contribute to conserving the planet’s natural resources and protecting the environment. Waste reduction, water conservation, recycling, use of environmentally-friendly products in Resort operations, and sewage treatment strategies are all part the plan.
THE CONCEPT PLAN
"In wilderness is the preservation of the World." ~ Henry Thoreau
Takhini Hot Springs is located on the traditional territory of the Ta'an Kwach'an Council.
The Concept Plan is a comprehensive framework to guide development at Takhini Hot Springs Resort. The goal is to attain a distinct eco-based identity for the Resort, based upon the historical, cultural and physical environment. The identity will be derived from a building vernacular which will use indigenous and recycled building materials, and incorporate energy efficient and passive solar technologies, with the intent to harmonize with the rural quality of the land.
The Plan recognizes the dramatic site features and the unique location of THS. Sun, shade, views, open space, retention of forested area, safe and attractive pedestrian environments, landscaping, and architectural forms are all priority factors to be considered in the sustainable planning and design of the proposed diverse range of facilities.
This concept plan emphasizes:
- The forest setting, rural feeling
- Takhini Hot Springs Source Pool
- Takhini Hot Springs natural run off Pond
- Spectacular mountain views
- Trail linkages within the site
- Easy access throughout the site
- High visibility of key resort facilities
- Proximity to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve
Broadway Architects created a "Working Master Plan" that outlined ordered development for future growth, that accommodates changing needs over time. The resort new facilities are planned for several distinct zones of Takhini hot springs property.
The village community core area has historically been the operational heart of the resort for the general public to take advantage of the many recreational opportunities within the area. The main focal points in the central village core area are the hot pools source, the existing guest services building and the Takhini run off pond.
The initial plan divided the resort lands into six distinct, yet interconnected land use zones:
A. The Village Centre Zone (Community Core Area)
- Pool Facilties (Guest Services/ Hot Pool redevelopment)
- Hot Springs Interpretive Centre
- Day Use Recreation Areas
- Teahouse & Meeting Rooms
- Lakeside Chalets (Takhini Pond)
- Lagoon and Boardwalk
- Equestrian Centre
B. The Eco-Spa Zone
- Eco Spa Facilities
- Hillside Chalets
- Sunset Lodge
- The Meadows
- Challenge Course
C. Northeast Zone
- Retreat Centre
D. Wilderness Zone
- Wilderness Lodge
- Wilderness Observation Tower
- Challenge Course
E. Upper Housing Zone
- Retreat Centre
F. Lower Housing Zone
- Strata, Co-housing, Vacation
- Agricultural Lands & Greenhouses
Yukon Hot Springs Resort Master Plan Updates
The resort master plan was revised in 2015 to accommodate changes in the marketplace. It was updated again in 2020 and the resort rebranded as Yukon Hot Springs Resort to respond to the international eco-tourism market.
Takhini Hot Springs Master Plan Update (2015)
Yukon Hot Springs Resort Master Plan (updated May 2020)
The 2020 updated master concept plan accommodates the following:
- Hot Springs Source Pool (restoration and protection)
- Sova Hostel
- Eclipse Nordic Hot Springs Spa Guest Services Centre (18,000 sf)
(reception, lounge eatery, saunas, steam rooms, change rooms, showers, lockers, utility services)
- Outdoor Onsen Natural Rock Hot Pools
( Main Hot Pool 1, Hidden Pool 2, Relax Bld Pool 3, Relax Bld V Hot Pool 4, 4x hot pots)
- Associated site development including: trails, club mud, Takhini Pond beach, Takhini Pond floating sauna, barefoot walk, various fountains
- Associated utility services
- Associated roadworks
- Astronomy Centre
- Yukon Hot Springs Resort Hotel Guest Services Spa, Cafe & Fitness Centre
(Liard Indoor Pool , Spa services, fitness centre, retail services, tourist office, associated support and utility serviceses - change rms, washrooms, mechanical/electrial)
- Yukon Hot Springs Lodge Hotel Wing 1 (40 keys)
Reception, Guest rooms, associated services, utility services
- Outdoor Onsen style rock pool, beach area
- Yukon Hot Springs Resort Hotel
Wing 2 Guest Rooms + Central Guest Services
(reception, restaurant, banquet, conference facilities, aurora viewing, associated utility services)
- Vacation Townhouse/Condos
- Associated site development (landscaping, walkways, beach area etc)
- Associated civil works, (parking, sewage, fire protection., electrical)
- Destination Spa in "Meadow" zone
- Additional Vacation Homes
- Organic Agriculture Centre (agri-tourism) - greenhouses, berry fields
- Brew Pub / Distillery
- General Store
- Resort Motel
- B & B Inn
- Artists Village - Workspace/ residences
- Northern Lights Viewing Area
- Meeting / Events Venues
Several architectural projects have been designed by Broadway Architects since the master plan was originally conceived. Broadway Architects architectural projects at Yukon Hot Springs Resort (formerly Takhini Hot Springs) include:
RETREAT CENTRE (completed)
Insulated wall tent type guest accommodation and small conference centre (restoration/reuse of barn for conference events).
SOVA HOSTEL (completed)
The Sova Hostel provides affordable shared guest room accommodation for hostel guests. The Centre has accessible rooms, washroom and common areas. The Centre also acts as a reception / services area for campground visitors providing guests with laundry and shower facilities. In addition, the Hostel also contains a resident manager suite and offices.
HOT SPRINGS SOURCE REHABILITATION (completed)
The hot springs source has been rehabilitated and the area protected. An enclosed gazebo that allows for public viewing has been placed over the source pool.
Hot Springs Source Pool
ONSEN HOT POOLS REDEVELOPMENT (under construction)
The 10,000+ years hot springs are the very foundation of the Yukon Hot Springs eco resort and integral to its existence. The Hot Pools redevelopment plan recognizes the dramatic site features. Maximizing solar orientation, enhancing views, and the rehabilitation of the spring source, and reclamation of the tufa fields, excessive roadways and parking are priority items. The new hot pools and associated guest services green building centre provides visitors with a more nature based experience, and add additional spa services.
New Onsen Rock Hot Pools (under construction)
ECLIPSE NORDIC HOT SPRINGS SPA & GUEST CENTRE (under construction)
The Eclipse Nordic Hot Springs guest services centre replaces the existing, outdated guest services facility. The new 18,000 sf centre has been sited to use and rehabilitate hot springs source historical tufa run off area. It also takes advantage of views to the associated Takhini pond, and local mountains. The facility has protected all weather walkway connections to the the new outdoor onsen rock hot pools.
The centre's programmed spaces include: reception, lounge, eatery, office, change rooms, showers, lockers and associated staff and utility services areas.
Eclipse Nordic Hot Springs Guest Service Centre (under construction)
INTERPRETIVE CENTRE (Phase 3)
The natural hit springs are the foundation of the resort. The proposed Interpretive Centre will be located at the springs source, a natural crater-like landform. The new facility will be the focus of educational and interpretive programs for the entire eco based community.
The use of clean renewable energy sources, along with sustainable building practices are promoted in the Takhini Hot Springs Interpretive Centre as a benchmark for all future resort developments. The resort is blessed with having the hot springs for its recreational and therapeutic value and also as a geothermal source of heating and cooling buildings. The building will be entirely energy self-sufficient (net zero energy use). The geoexchange systems employed will be highlighted as a key component of the overall interpretive program - to help promote and establish the Takhini Hot Spring Resort as Canada's greenest Eco Village Resort.
The Interpretive Centre will be the focus of educational and interpretive programs for the entire Resort Village. The centre will include the well house utility functions and provide display information on the geology of the hot springs, unique ecosystem of the area, and local cultural history. As well, the sustainable design features employed in the building (including geoexchange heating and cooling systems) will be on display.
The Interpretive Centre is envisioned as a "bridge over hot water", floating over the earth, to minimize on-site impacts. It symbolically acts as a link to the past with displays interpreting the geology and history of the area. A pair of large timber trusses, reminiscent of historic wood trestle bridges, span the hot spring source and form the structural supporting system. The trusses in turn rest gently on stilts suspending the building over the natural cater below.