The Gichi Kendaasiwin Centre will be:
- the home for Aboriginal students at Lakehead University;
- the heart of an education outreach network;
- a foundation of support and pride;
- a place for community gatherings;
- a repository of memory;
- a spiritual place;
- a locus of research and advocacy on Indigenous peoples’ issues;
- and a welcoming pathway for all people toward awareness and appreciation of Indigenous cultures.
The proposed building is a story created by a series of design gestures on the site which aims to create a unique and deep relationship between the building and the earth on which it’s built. The fundamental gestures are:
- Shape the land to create spaces which are embraced by Mother Earth and reach out to the water.
- Define the circle as significant space, with entry from the east, as the primary ordering principle.
- Create a meaningful, didactic and sheltered path that engages the natural world and the circle as it connects the domestic zone (residences) to the academic zone (University Centre).
- Accommodate programs and services which support Indigenous students along this meaningful path.
- Organize the academic spaces above to reach up and connect with the sky.