The Peigan Nation, now known as the Piikani Nation, is a First Nation community located in southern Alberta, in the area of Brocket. The Nation at one point occupied territory on both sides of the Canada-United States border, but their territory was diminished as a result of government pressures. The Piikani Nation is a progressive, energetic community with a history of impressive firsts. They were the first Nation to demand a vote in provincial elections, and the first to assume administration of their reserve. The desire for an autonomous and culturally-specific health centre aligns with the Nation’s principles of sovereignty and care for community.
The Peigan Health Centre is a considered response to the climate of the area and the specific needs of this culturally-rich community. This project was formative in establishing our firm’s co-creative and holistic practice. Not only did the entire Piikani/Peigan community contribute to the vision for the Centre, but the project supported the community and its economy by commissioning the services of local trades, labourers, and services.
THE CIRCLE OF WELL-BEING
The building’s plan form is based on an essential element of Blackfoot culture, the medicine wheel. The four wings of the Centre house different health services and radiate from the central point of the reception area in a pinwheel form. This fulcrum space is taller than the wings that surround it, drawing attention and guiding visitors to this important orientation space. The ceiling is designed with shapes and colours that suggest a sweat lodge, the centre of which opens to a beautiful skylight.