PSU Native American Student & Community Center

Client: Portland State University
Location: Portland, Oregon
Completion Date: October 2003
 
The Salmon Courtyard features a bronze sculpture of Chief Joseph by Nez Perce Artist Doug Hyde
 
It is a place on the campus of Portland State University for Native American and Alaskan Native students to call home. It serves as a place of gathering, make available technical resources and provide a focus for the Native American community on campus. The building design was envisioned by Navajo architect David Sloan of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Don Stastny of Portland, Oregon. The structure rises from the ground, and reflects both the civic architecture of the surrounding campus and the organic elements of Native American architecture.

  
West Entry Courtyard & Amphitheater

Like the building, the landscape has both an urban and a natural side. The East Entry Courtyard, or "urban" side, is quite formal, with interesting stone paving patterns reflecting designs found on many Indian baskets and blankets. The West Entry Courtyard, or "natural" side, is an informal and naturalistic garden, using mostly native plants found in the Pacific Northwest. The original design included a rain garden to capture roof runoff and aid in attenuating the nearby freeway noise. The South Courtyard is an extension of the building, an outdoor area for relaxing, studying or socializing. It serves as a reception garden during performances in the Main Gathering Area of the Center. The landscape concept included a fire pit in the shape of a migrating Chinook salmon to be used to prepare salmon for traditional dinners, or serve as a fireplace on cold Northwest nights.
 
  
Rooftop Indian botanical garden with sculptures by tribal artist Lillian Pitt
 
The entire roof of the building features a rooftop Indian botanical garden. Traditional plants that were important to Native Americans for food, medicine, basketry, utensils and other uses are planted in the raised beds, and are maintained by PSU students. At the summit of the roof garden is an Honor Courtyard, commemorating all the Native American graduates.
 
  
Architect's Computer Rendering
 
Ribbon cutting ceremonies and tribal blessings were held for the center in October 2003. The facility has been very popular in the greater metropolitan Portland community, and reservations for use of the communal spaces for meetings, weddings and other events occur regularly.
 
 Landscape Master Plan 
 
Landscape Architect: McCormack Landscape Architecture
Architects: StastnyBrun Architects, David N. Sloan & Associates