Project Description



Project Type:  Education

Construction Type:  Commercial

Work Performed: Design

Year Designed:  2018

Material Type: Concrete

Project Location:  Moorhead, MN

Project Size: 100,000 SF

Project Description

The Native American Art Museum serves as the second project assigned in the second semester of third year architecture school. The task given to each student was to design a Native American Art Museum along the Red River using concrete as the primary material. All sites along the river are within the flood plain. This required the final design to consider yearly flooding as a crucial concern. The project set specific requirements as to what uses were to be included in the final design such as an information and ticket sale booth, coat room, offices, galleries, auditorium, restaurant, library, etc. One of the more interesting requirements was the need for small and large workshops for artists to work. Housing units were also added to provide space for these artists to live while they complete their exhibition work.

The Plains CulturArt Bridge and its exhibits reflect some of the most important aspects of the Native American culture. The Circle, the most sacred and powerful symbol, which represents the earth. Also known as the Medicine Wheel signifying the circle of life and that all things are connected. Referring to the site plan, the design exhibits three circles. The public accessible atrium to the north that hosts the restaurant, auditorium, and the library. The central circle hosts the traditional Pow Wow circle which huge the river. The farthest circle south hosts 15,000 sf of changing exhibits for the museum guests.

The entrance to the building directly faces cardinal north. This begins the snaking form that tucks itself under the 30,000 sf of primary gallery space which can be identified as the four concrete boxes connected by one long glass corridor following the river. These four concrete galleries are inspired by another highly respected belief, the number four. All things come in groups of four. Four seasons, cardinal points, cycles of life, values, elements of the earth, etc. This greatly inspired the layout of the museum and journey one must take in life.

The Way of Culture, the first of four primary galleries through the museum journey. Family is one of the most important parts in the Native American culture. While in this exhibit guests will be taken through a life journey. How each new step in life has its different responsibilities and challenges from Youth, to Child, to Adult, to Elder.

The Way of Living, the second gallery to educate museum guests on how Native Americans traditionally lived. Four sections exhibiting their homes, how they traveled, what they ate, and what they traditionally wore. All of which are important to know and understand for the exhibits to follow.

The Way of Life, the third gallery stop. While in this gallery, exhibits of life of the Native American is encompassed in four sections. Language, Education, Religion, and Festivals and Gatherings all serve to build upon the understanding of the Native American culture and their life.

The Way of Transitioning, the fourth and final primary gallery. Rotated 45 degrees off its axis. This drastic change of orientation, compared to the other three galleries, signifies the long-imprinted derailment of the Native American culture. In this exhibit, guests will follow the intricate journey from early Native American culture to the now present-day way of life.

The Urban X Exhibit directly connects to the Way of Transitioning hosting the most recent art made from the modern day Native American Artists.

The Changing Exhibit is made up of 15,000 SF of open flex space divided into four sections for any additional exhibits the museum chooses to showcase.