University of Saskatchewan unveils design for new student centre in Canada

13 May 2012 (Last Updated May 13th, 2012 18:30)

The University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada has unveiled new design plans for the Gordon Oakes-Red Bear Student Centre.

University of Saskatchewan student centre in Canada

The University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, has unveiled new design plans for the Gordon Oakes-Red Bear Student Centre.

The centre will be built in Wiggins Court between the Arts Tower and the Murray Library.

The facility will be used as a cultural centre for visitors, students and faculty, as well as a central hub for the 1900 aboriginal students who make up 9% of the university’s student population.

The 1,884m² building will span three levels and will house both the Indigenous Students’ Council and the Aboriginal Students’ Centre, and provide additional space for learning and ceremonies.

Gordon Oakes-Red Bear Student Centre architect Douglas Cardinal said that the centre will provide the necessary amenities and resources for Aboriginal students while serving as a central space for all students, staff and faculty.

"The important thing is to have a presence architecturally for First Nations people on the campus, given there are many First Nations students here and in the future even more because of population trends," Cardinal said.

Plans also include tunnels connecting the centre to the Arts Building and a new link to the Health Sciences building.

University of Saskatchewan president Peter MacKinnon said the design is a stunning piece of Aboriginal architecture.

"When completed, the centre will be a vibrant inclusive gathering place for all," MacKinnon said.

The building has been named after the late Gordon Oakes (Red Bear), a spiritual and political leader of aboriginal community.

Construction on the centre is anticipated to start in autumn.

Douglas Cardinal’s other notable designs include the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec, the First Nations University of Canada in Regina, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., US.


Image: The centre will offer the necessary amenities and resources for Aboriginal students. Photo: University of Saskatchewan.