When both the design and the design process reflects the local culture, the resultant architecture has the best chance for success. In this case, the (Native) architect choose a highly interactive process that included clients doing most of the talking. The architect also choose a more comprehensive programming approach – going beyond the typical ‘size and space requirements’, and asking clients to describe the desired feel and vision for the facility. The extra time spent on listening and programming, reaps returns.
Inspiration for the governance center came from the local landscape, the River of Life, the Kiva and the Tri-partite government. The overall form employs colors from the earth (and setting sun), while indigenous plants and a water feature greets the visitor. Water patterns are also used throughout the interior of the building. Each wing expresses a different function of the tri-partite government, while the council chambers (complete with a basket-weaving reference on the ceiling) references the circular kiva.
Encompass Architects is Native owned (Tammy Eagle Bull is Oglala Lakota).
Location: Gila River Indian Community, Sacaton, Arizona.
Photographs: Encompass Architects: http://www.encompassarch.com