Indian Community School of Milwaukee
::: 2009 Design Excellence Award from the AIA Committee on Architecture for Education :::
Indian Community School, Inc.
Cultural Consultant and Collaborating designer with Antoine Predock Architect
This project was completed in collaboration with design architect, Antoine Predock, FAIA. Predock was selected through an invited competition and I was selected to be a part of the design team as an American Indian designer that would help ensure the accurate cultural translation in the architecture.
The client purchased a 142-acre site just south of Milwaukee in Franklin for a new 4K-8 school. This 150,000 square-foot school differs from most schools in a number of ways. The schools initiative is to teach cultural values as well as educating young people. This school is also as center of community for the American Indian population in Milwaukee. The large public spaces in the building are intended for community use. These spaces include, dining for 800, theater for 400 and a gym.
The methodology we have employed to communicate the cultural values of the people who will use this school, is to create of a series of graphic laminae. Each of these laminates graphically communicate the cultural values that are shared by the 11 nations in Wisconsin. Laminae connote an inherent strength through the act of lamination. By creating a syntax of their own, each of the laminae may be read in the singular, but one can read them in conjunction with other laminae. Through this synchronic syntax, one can read the Native ethos of all things together and the role of reciprocity.
The clients desired a cultural expression that was integral to the architecture and not applied in a decorative manner. Every effort was made to be selective of the areas that would manifest cultural relevance and I created a cultural program of spaces that identified material qualities, programmatic usage and opportunity for integrating culture. The areas of cultural relevance and meaning are designed by studio:indigenous and represent my exact design role in collaboration with the design architect.
As you will see in the following pages, the direct design authorship of studio:indigenous is in areas such as; classroom naming, identification of laminate topics, creation of explanatory graphics, the design of an entire space called “the Place of Nations”, the design of furniture, etc.