Location: Manistee, Michigan
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians’ (LRBOI) new Governmental Center, located inManistee, Michigan, centralizes the branches of government while consolidatingdepartments. Charrettes with the project’s Task Force resulted in multiple ideas andschematic plans, working to achieve balance of tradition, function and convenience forvisitors and employees.Initial efforts focused on operations, development of an updated master plan anddeveloping a building consistent with cultural traditions. LRBOI desired a centrallocation, a campus-like layout and facilities to meet current and future needs. Thegoals: improved communication, operational efficiencies, and better serviceaccessibility for tribal members. The design includes numerous low energy andsustainable features.Importantly, the design is sensitive to honoring Tribal heritage, consistent with itstraditions and culture. The result is unique and timeless while reflecting tribal valuesand history. Building orientation, material selection and interior décor were inspired bythese traditions. Culturally appropriate artistic and design treatments infuse symbolismof the “Long House” of the Woodland Indians and the resting eagle, with extensive useof native Michigan materials. Earth, sky, water, stone and fire are evident in ceramics,skylights, waterfall, fire place/fire pits and materials throughout.The Center’s 54,000 square feet uses the largest space for Little River Health offices, aMedicaid outpatient center of 11,000 square feet with health clinic, pharmacy anddental services. The new Center now centralizes executive, legislative andadministrative departments.Design impact/benefits:Low Impact Design – stormwater management, rainwater catchment/reuse,permeable parking.Daylight sensors.Geothermal system with carbon air filtration (to allow “smudging” tradition).Key area skylights.Resource efficient plumbing.Modular glass walls, allowing flexibility and daylight interior spaces.Raised flooring system with underneath air, electric, and communicationsLRBOI’s goals were met – a beautiful, functional, efficient building sensitive to theTribe’s cultural and historic heritage without being maudlin.