Gordon Oakes Redbear Student Center

Client: University of Saskatchewan

Location: Sasktoon, Saskatchewan

Area: 1600 sq. m.

Completed: 2016

The University of Saskatchewan has embraced the rapid increase in enrollment of Indigenous students as an opportunity to revitalize the future of their institution. The building is envisioned to provide necessary amenities and resources for Indigenous students, while simultaneously developing an understanding of Indigenous culture.

The building has three major programs: the Aboriginal Students Centre, the Indigenous Student Council and the Native Studies Department. These programs are focused on a central gathering space for formal ceremonies, lectures and social gatherings. The plan of the building is based on the simple notion that the circle is the symbolic base for healing, knowledge, and equality, as well as the foundation for all Indigenous ceremonies. The central gathering space is both the symbolic and systemic base for the building’s plan, as each department is anchored to it. This acts as a reminder to Indigenous people and an introduction to non-indigenous peoples to their worldviews.

In accordance with LEED Gold strategies, the building will not only benefit the Indigenous community on campus, but will also provide the University with state-of-the-art facilities for lectures, celebrations and presentations.