Lambton College Outdoor Indigenous Centre
Lambton College is currently undertaking the creation of an Indigenous outdoor space as part of their Indigenous Academic & Student Success Plan. The intention behind this purpose-built structure is to honour Indigenous world views and cultural practices while providing a secure and empowering space for Indigenous learners to come together and engage in cultural events, ceremonies and storytelling sessions.
The design of the structure draws inspiration from Wigwams and incorporates elements found in the natural world. Construction primarily utilizes natural materials, resulting in an organic shape that promotes openness and allows natural light to permeate the space. Throughout the area, there are design elements that pay tribute to Indigenous culture, history and traditions. These include the incorporation of the medicine wheel, recognition of local territory Nations, representation of the clan system, incorporation of Indigenous teachings and language, as well as acknowledgment of the local First Nations.
In collaboration with architects Tillmann Ruth Robinson, our structural engineering team is proudly helping bring this significant space to life. We have been responsible for the structural design of the 1,500-ft2 gathering area, as well as the accompanying slab-on-grade support building.
The unique structure of the Indigenous centre features curved glue laminated timber frames with a centre steel compression ring to provide the overall superstructure for the building. The space boasts a captivating design, featuring integrated seating around its perimeter, all centered around a wood-burning fireplace that hangs from a central skylight. The structure is artfully shaped by eight petals, with seven of them symbolizing the Seven Grandfather Teachings, while the eighth serves as the entrance, situated on the eastern side to honour the significance of the rising sun.
The adjacent structure consists of washrooms, a compact electrical/utility room and roof-mounted photovoltaic panels. These panels capture solar power, enabling both the building and the gathering space to utilize sustainable energy sources.
Our team is honoured to be involved in the development of this noteworthy space that will foster partnerships and promote reconciliation.
Renderings provided by architects Tillmann Ruth Robinson.