Grand Traverse Civic Centre

Client: The Grand Traverse Band of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians

Location: Grand Traverse County, Michigan

Area: 25,000 square feet

Completed: March 2001

The Grand Traverse Band of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians wanted a Civic Centre for their community of Grand Traverse, Michigan. The vision was to create a center that would reflect the Grand Traverse people, their culture and heritage as it served particularly the elders and the youth.

The concept for the Civic Centre soon became a circular design to allow for a central gathering space. Being designed as a multi-purpose budding to facilitate the staging of many types of events and gatherings, symbols such as the shape of the turtle and pinpoints to the four directions allow specific cultural activities. Yet the primary features for the design became a gymnasium, a basketball court, running track, and various other sport and public meeting rooms.

On the outside, the structure symbolizes a turtle with its thirteen plates to honour the lunar phases and the power of women. The most efficient material for the building being a geodesic structure, it was designed so that components were fabricated and sent to the community. The community itself was able to put the structure together with a minimum of training. The budding completed in 2001 was credited with an award for Best Budding of its size in Michigan and United States of America.