The Building

The KF Centre for Excellence

With stunning curves, awe-inspiring views and incomparable attention to detail, the KF Centre for Excellence is a magnificent feat of engineering and design. The perfect vessel to deliver an immersive aviation experience.


The vision for the Centre’s iconic structure all started with a simple napkin sketch by KF Centre for Excellence founder and aviation enthusiast, Barry Lapointe. His vision landed on two key requirements: the building should be made with local wood product—and it should look and feel like an airplane.

On March 25, 1970 in a field beside the Kelowna Airport, Barry Lapointe established an aircraft repair company — just him and his dog, with a big dream and a love for aviation. Over the past five decades, Barry has grown that company into a world-renowned leader in aircraft maintenance, engineering, flight operations, leasing, military pilot training and defence programs. From pilot and aircraft mechanic to industry titan, click here to learn more about Barry’s story.


To celebrate KF’s 50+ year journey, while connecting people with the story of aviation throughout the Okanagan, B.C. and beyond.


The building’s design is inspired by the classic design of historic aircraft like the Spitfire.


Showcase local design expertise and materials—the entire building is sourced and manufactured from within B.C.


Barry’s big vision comes to life in a tremendous showcase of home-grown expertise and materials.

NOV 2020

City of Kelowna awards development permit in Nov 2020

MAR 2021

Construction of the Centre began on The Centre’s 51st birthday

MAR 2021

The Centre receives federal grant through Wood Program


Installation of Queen Posts Completed


Installation of Glass Doors Completed

AUG 2022

Expected completion and opening date


The KF Centre for Excellence project team, led by BC’s top architectural (Meiklejohn Architects), engineering (StructureCraft ) and construction (Sawchuk Developments) firms, delivers never before seen innovations in mass timber construction.


Born from an idea sketched on a napkin by KF Centre for Excellence founder Barry Lapointe, The Centre for Excellence is the perfect combination of tradition and technology. Featuring state-of-the-art construction techniques such as CRT (cross-laminated timber), glue-laminated timber trusses to create the look and feel of a plane, and a roof designed to collect rainwater, the Centre showcases made in BC wood and an iconic, innovative structural design.

Envisioned to celebrate KF’s 50+ year history of aviation and provide an immersive experience, the Centre offers something for everyone – from holographic media to flight simulators, a conference centre, an airfield viewing gallery, an exhibition space with access to view some of history’s greatest aircraft, and the ability to host tours and educational programs.

The KF Centre for Excellence is a marvel of design, a nod to tradition, and an immersive educational aviation centre inspired by aeronautical engineering.

View The Presentation




Along with its signature roof, the facility features what will likely be a world-first doubly-curved, self-supporting CLT Staircase descending to the Centre’s main lobby.

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) form load-bearing walls and a floating staircaseNaturally: Wood

DLT roof trusses were curved by arching the panels over two central supports, before locking in the curvature with steel cables and steel queen posts on the ground. All 53 trusses were then craned into place, resulting in an efficient and elegant roof structure, which is also intended to mimic the fuselage of a plane.

Dowel-laminated timber (DLT) form roof and floor deckingStructure Craft

The building showcases the latest in structural innovation and mass timber construction throughout the superstructure. From wing-shaped hangar roofs to a highly unique doubly-curved CLT staircase, a creative approach to structural engineering was pivotal to the design of this project.

Glue-laminated timber (GLT) serve as load-bearing ribbed trussesLucas Epp, P.Eng StructureCraft


A Helical Staircase
Using a special application of timber concrete composite (TCC), the structure is comprised of doubly curved CLT with a concrete topping throughout the full spiral.
Wing Shaped Hangar Roofs
Front ‘spar’ trusses and rib trusses form the wing-shaped roofs, which have the exact same profile as Spitfire wings, in a nod to aeronautical engineering and aircraft wings of the past.
Tail Patio Lounge
Tying it all together, a mass-timber installation stands proudly as the tail of the Centre, encompassing a patio lounge for visitors. Accessible from the Centre’s upper level or the rear ground-level staircase, this all-weather space offers a 45-seat capacity.
Glass & Steel Frame Doors
Folding glass hangar doors make a 115’ clear span to allow aircraft such as the Convair CV580 and the DC10 to enter the hangars.
Airfield Viewing Gallery
Make your way to the Centre’s upper balcony, where you’ll find front row seats to the runway of one of Canada’s busiest airports.


Step inside the world’s first mass-timber building shaped like a classic airplane. The Centre is a ground-breaking achievement in mass timber design that promises to wow visitors with its stunning curves, awe-inspiring views and incomparable attention to detail. Aviation spills into every inch of the building.