We are truly humbled to announce that Moriyama & Teshima Architects and Smoke Architecture have been chosen to lead the design of Mukqua Waakaa’igan: the new Indigenous centre of cultural excellence at Algoma University.
A new heart for the university, the Mukwa Waakaa’igan will provide a safe space that welcomes visitors from across the globe to engage with and learn from Indigenous heritage: a place of healing, sharing and learning.
Our design proposal was developed to honour the three dimensions of The Sweetgrass Path: Past (the direction of memory, honouring what children experienced in places such as these, and recognizing how it continues to impact us), Present (recognizing where we are, where we are from, where we are going) and Future (connecting indoor spaces with nature and reinvigorating the campus).
“As we walk it [the path], there may be turns, ups and downs where we don’t know quite where we’re going, but that path is our life, intertwining spirit, mind, and body, the essence of creation.”
– Kevin Moose, a Cree story, via Marley Bob
We recognize the significance of this project, both for the university itself and for the community at large. Many voices and opinions have been involved in shaping our architectural concept, including members of Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association in the project Steering Committee, who are survivors of the residential school formerly on site. In carrying out this project with the utmost compassion toward victims of the aforementioned institution, as well as being conscious of the ongoing investigation currently happening there, our aspiration is to mark a step forward in the reconciliation process. The project signifier, the bear, represents healing.
Our team’s purpose is to foster cross-cultural learning and teaching; listening to and encouraging diverse perspectives of all user groups, in the hopes of creating a respectful understanding toward one other and the planet.
It is with great pride that we continue our collaboration with Smoke Architecture in the next steps of the project.
Access the official announcement made by Algoma University here.