Design Awards judge Agnessa Todorova calls the Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center her favorite project and describes it as emotional, small-scale and modern yet traditional in a natural setting.
This didn't happen by accident.
Architects worked with the Tanana Chiefs Conference, a tribal consortium, to design a “superclinic” serving 42 villages over a 235,000-square-mile area of interior Alaska. They incorporated curving patterns mimicking the rivers that influence local culture and circular patterns that define their art. The curved walls of the main public area are lined with birch and resemble the inside of a giant basket.
“The very first thing we heard from our client was: This building must scream 'culture,' ” recalls Dale Alberda, a principal with NBBJ. “We tried very hard to achieve what they wanted: a building that truly reflected their culture—not our version of their culture.”