SMSC Cultural Center

I take a lot of flak from my fellow Partners at HTG Architects for sometimes (okay, most of the time) focusing too much on the “DETAILS” and not on the bigger picture of our projects. To me, the details are what truly is important to both running a business and serving our clients to the best of our ability. Whether we are working with one of our financial clients on a new co-branding bank design or one of our ice rink clients on the many multi-purpose uses of their recreation facilities, it’s always the details that matter in the end.

This leads HTG to provide “Solutions that Make a Difference” for our clients. Whether that applies to developing the intricate details of constructing a culturally authentic tipi using conventional construction materials, developing a co-branding collaboration between companies, or developing a recreation facility that will continue to offer valuable amenities within their local communities, it will always come down to the details. Details that were well developed and carefully implemented in order to make the project a success for the team. 

Are you curious about how the details make an impact on your project, please reach out to the team at HTG Architects as we are more than architects …

We are the detailers. 


What are the Details in Architecture? 

Regarding the details of each project, does the term details refer to material use, color schemes, finishes? When architects use the word “details”, we literally mean almost anything that relates to the design, development, or construction of the building.  

  • Details can be coordination efforts
  • Details are how material choices or selections meet at a certain intersection within the project
  • Details can be very granular, for example how the wall or roof assembly is depicted so it’s clear how something is to be constructed and why

Simply put, details relate to a wide reference of all of the things we think about on our team when we create a set of construction documents together for a contractor to build the project. 


What Details are Overlooked, or Forgotten? 

Being as immersed in details as our team is within each project, how do we ensure we’re accounting for everything since we are so deep into the details? One of the most common details that are forgotten or overlooked is the understanding of the exterior wall envelope assembly, continuous insulation, and where the protection barriers go and how they all tie together. All of the assemblies of the exterior wall need to properly connect to the roof assembly.

The basic function of the envelope or enclosure of a building or structure is to protect the covered (or otherwise conditioned) interior spaces from the surrounding environment. Continuous insulation improves the performance and simplifies design and installation. And, protection barriers further fortify the building or structure. All important details!


Project Feature Details: Shakope Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC)

Imagine the details in HTG’s biggest architectural project to date—building the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Cultural Center, a project envisioned over 20 years ago by the Great Sioux Nation to pay homage to its Dakota people by honoring their heritage through preservation, education, story and display.

2019 SMSC Cultural Center

A six-year build. Over 84,000 square feet. Nearly 30 project partners in design and construction. The vision of an exacting, proud culture with specific requirements to honor spirit and nature. And, no shortage of details.

We’ve been the architect for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community for 30 years and they trust us to build to their exacting standards, vision and budget. The details in that sense come through a legacy of a professional relationship built on trust and expectation. While specific architectural details of a project of this size and scope are innumerous, there are a few that stand out as the most noteworthy including:

  • The Seven Tipis—the cultural center features exterior tipis built to represent the Oceti Sakowiŋ, the Seven Council Fires of the Great Sioux Nation. Tipis are typically standalone structures. We connected three of the seven to the building itself to provide fire protection, life safety measures, lighting, and thermal comfort to integrate them into the culture center.
  • East Entrances—primary doors of the cultural center face East, just as the traditional way one enters a tipi. 
  • Lighting—skylights in the entrance tip to the West and the sun shines through four colors symbolizing the four cardinal directions: red/East, yellow/South, black/West, and white/North.
  • Circle Symbolism—repeated use of the circle, an important symbol for the community. Utilized in room shapes, flooring designs, light fixtures and arrangements, furniture shapes, and more.

I might have a reputation at HTG Architects for being somewhat of a detail enthusiast, but it’s all for a good cause. Every detail of every single project we execute on behalf of our clients is important; a careful consideration of the scope. It’s reflective of our culture, our core values, and process. Let us know how we can help ensure your project details are in the best of hands!

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Published on May 11, 2021

Topics: New Construction, Remodel

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