First Nations University of Canada

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In 1994, (for approximately 12 months) Douglas Cardinal Architect Inc. was retained to develop an overall master plan for the university. This included developing programming, phasing for future design and construction, as well as design for the overall university. In 1998 (for approximately18 months) the firm was retained to refine the programming and complete the design and construction drawings for the first phase. In 2001 (spring/summer start, approximately 22 months) the firm was retained to administer construction of the university, as well as redesign during construction to accommodate a tenant for over half of the building.
This project challenged our firm to develop strategies for the master plan, always respecting the need for an expressive, functional relationship between the user’s programmatic requirements, functionality, budget and most importantly, culture. This building represents far more than a mere facility to house programs, it was designed specifically to give a voice and a recognizable symbol to the First Nations University, as well as all native peoples of Saskatchewan. It is a source of pride, bricks and mortar signifying the realization of their endeavours. Since completion the university has garnered a significant increase in interest from the public and potential students, resulting in increased student enrolment.
 From an administrative point of view, this project fostered complex relationships between the client, the board of governors, funding agencies, faculty, and a governmental tenant. A large portion of this facility was leased to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, and the design work to incorporate changes and fi t-ups was undertaken simultaneously with construction under a strict schedule. Douglas Cardinal Architect Inc. was responsible for coordinating all design changes related to the relocation of the client’s user groups, as well as fi t-up work for INAC, construction documents, estimating/ tendering, and construction administration, all while maintaining seamless coordination amongst all parties. Our team worked with no less than eight separate parties to bring this project to fruition in less than 22 months, within each party’s respective budget. The project was recently honoured with the Canadian Institute for Masonry Award for 2005.

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