The Pacific Northwest is well known for the art, culture, and people of the Coastal Salish Tribes. The Stillaguamish Tribe, located approximately one hour north of Seattle, are seeking to create a central community development to live, gather, support each other, celebrate and carry forward cultural traditions.
The first of many phases in this master planned community is the development of a canoe carving center. The carving center is designed with natural log features, water catchment systems, native landscapes and culturally supportive design solutions to allow historic carving practices and modern technology to work together in preserving the community’s carving traditions. There is a place for carvers to gather and create as well as a flexible fire circle for dancing, gathering, drumming, and singing. The canoe shed is nestled within an existing forest that was likely used for logging practices within the last 100 years and is now restored and enhanced with drought-tolerant and fire-safe landscape solutions.
The West Studio worked with the Tribe to understand the cultural traditions, desired requirements, water availability, programming and outdoor workspaces necessary to support the carving traditions. A robust community outreach and series of small group discussions with key community stakeholders were conducted to ensure that The West Studio design solutions were customized specifically to the Stillaguamish community and cultural traditions. As a design team, it was a huge honor to learn more intimately the cultural practices of the Stillaguamish people and to work collaboratively together to create supportive environments. We are forever grateful and honored to have worked on this project with such a wonderful community.