Client Dakota Nation Housing Development Corporation

Culturally Sensitive Tribal Headquarters Design

Sisseton, South Dakota

The design concept is intended to strongly reflect the culture, history, and symbols of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe. The circular form of the building references the sacred hoop, as traditional villages of the Sisseton-Whapeton consist of lodges arranged in a tribal circle. Administrative departments are located in a ring around the perimeter of the building, surrounding a large circular ceremonial space at the center.

The large ceremonial open-air courtyard has a medicine wheel displayed on the paving of the central plaza, and serves as an outdoor gathering space for cultural and community activities.
The exterior of the building is a multi-colored brick. A decorative band of eight-inch by eight-inch glazed block surrounds the upper third of the perimeter facade, representative of the four-colored beadwork designs on traditional womens’ dresses of the Sisseton-Whapeton.

At a glance

106,000 SF (9,850 SM)


Culturally sensitive design

2015 Illumination Awards Award of Merit
The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America


Architectural Design; Structural, Mechanical, & Electrical Design; Fire Protection Design; Interior Design