New Cultural Center
IMEG provided structural design for the Hoċokata Ti Cultural Center, a new multi-purpose building of complex shape and form that serves the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community in Scott County, MN. The building serves as a gathering space, a public museum, and a cultural activity site.
Hoċokata Ti – pronounced “ho-cho-kah-tah tee,” the Dakota term for lodge at the center of the village or camp – is built into a hillside and overlooks a passing waterway, its undulating roof resembling the movement of the land beyond. While several early concepts were shown to the community as part of the planning process, the one chosen was selected because it represented the community and its connection to the water. The building is made of stone, stucco, and glass, and was oriented with an east entry, which is typical for a tipi.
Large groups are accommodated by the 1,200-person capacity Place of Gathering with its steel-and-timber-framed dome roof. Seven tipi structures (representing the people of The Seven Council Fires or the Sioux Nation) serve as small gathering spaces. Other spaces include a 3,805-sf public exhibit space, full kitchen with attached dining room, environment-controlled artifact collection area, cultural artifact exhibit area, River Gallery, locker rooms, administration spaces, movie theater, and a library/gift shop.
The structural system consists of structural concrete walls providing lateral stability and support for the building’s two levels and its multi-faceted steel roof structure. The steel-and-glass-framed wall along the River Gallery provides occupants a pleasing view of the water and grassland expanse of the prairie ecology.
The complex structure proved challenging for designers. Three of the tipis are accessible from the interior and were exceptionally challenging due of the need to connect seamlessly to the structure’s glass walls. Additionally, it was critical for the team to understand how to layout the structure for fabrication and construction, due to the intentionally non-linear, undulating roof and varying roof edges, as well as curved walls.
IMEG convinced the team to bring contractors of the major structural elements (concrete, steel, and the glue laminated wood dome structure) on board early in the design process so the constructors could have input on not only the most efficient way to construct, but also to formalize the entire process to produce shop and erection drawings, as well as for review and coordination. This process saved significant time and owner expense. IMEG worked with the contractors and designers to choose and design a workable solution for the geometrically complex form and specific function of this special facility.