Chandler Architecture



Gateway Village is situated on a strip of reclaimed land to the south of the approach road to the Confederation Bridge in Borden-Carleton, PEI. In 1995, William Chandler Architects Inc. was contracted to develop an overall conceptual design framework for the village which consisted of planning diagrams, site plans and architectural guidelines to which all potential developers must adhere. Further to that, we were selected to design several of the buildings in the village.

Constructed for the opening of the Confederation Bridge in 1996, Gateway Centre is a 22,000 square foot complex which houses an exhibit of Prince Edward Island culture, retail and food service areas, support facilities and a visitor’s centre. With the exception of the bridge support buildings, Gateway Centre was expected to be the only building on the site for at least the first season. This situation, along with the desire to play down the large scale of the building and have it exist harmoniously with the community of Borden-Carleton, presented formed the two driving forces behind the design of the project. The mass of the building was visually broken down into a series of wood and timber frame structures knit together by lower, flat-roofed areas to create the impression of building being a village in itself. The colours, rooflines, materials and massing were all inspired by the distant view of an Island village such as Borden-Carleton. Visitation to the Centre exceeded all expectations and both the general public and the people who work in the building have deemed it to be a great success.

Other buildings which our office was chosen to design were the Bridge Operations and the Weigh Scale Buildings. Both of these projects were extremely program driven in that they exist solely to monitor and maintain the bridge and the vehicles which travel it. It was decided that, in conformance with the development guidelines, these buildings would employ traditional cladding materials of brick and wood sidings with a combination of sloped and flat asphalt roofing. Given this, the form of the building was intended to reflect a contemporary interpretation of recognizable Island building types common to coastal villages. The tilting and bridging of volumes enabled the complex array of required site lines and spatial relationships to be maintained. A great deal of research went into developing the design which best facilitated the job of monitoring one of the most advanced engineering projects in the world. Both buildings have proven to be extremely effective in meeting the client’s expectations.

Gateway Centre fulfilled its mandate of serving as a motivator for further development in Gateway Village when, in the 1997 season, four new buildings opened in the area immediately surrounding the Centre. One of these was a 13,500 square foot complex of retail spaces and administration areas designed by our office for Gateway Village Development Corporation. This project along with another 7,300 square foot retail and food service building a year later continued to build upon the concept of Gateway Village being a showcase for the craftsmanship of Islanders, an introduction to the evolving raditions of island architecture and the welcoming hospitality of our province.