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Tour of BUS-ICC

Principal designers of the Business School and Indigenous Cultural Center will guide an intimate group of 30 through the design and construction of this award-winning center for learning and community on the Salt River Pima Indian Reservation at Scottsdale Community College.

The Business School and Indigenous Cultural Center is a unique project that serves both the SRP-MIC community and Scottsdale Community College Business students. Buildings, much like the desert and the people who live there, should tell stories. It is through the act of creating a space that evokes a place of stillness and reflection that ultimately brings one closer to their community and environment. The design decisions arose from the vision, goals, and ideas gathered at interactive campus workshops, outreach efforts with both the SRP-MIC and Business Communities, learning spaces research, tours, and the input of cultural and business experts.


Indigenous Cultural Center

The Indigenous Cultural Center meets the longstanding commitment by the College to provide the Indigenous Cultural Center (ICC) for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. It strives to serve a purpose that is often absent in buildings being constructed today in Tribal Communities. There is a vernacular to the land, to the people who inhabit it, to the way they build, and to the way they engage with one another. With the universal progress that we see happening today, it is easy to forget where we have been. The Indigenous Cultural Center serves as a reminder and a moment in the understanding of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRP-MIC) that invites users to take a moment to pause and discuss what it means to create unity and understanding.


The ICC design was created with the intention that the building would create a snapshot of the current-day understanding of where the SRP-MIC is heading, where they are and where they have been. The space was created with many elements that evoke memories for some and provoke questions for others while preserving the legacy of native oral traditions. Utilizing the historical building methodologies and traditions such as orientation and material appropriateness, The Indigenous Cultural Center reinterpreted and provided a point of reflection while remaining open to a new presence and future.


The ICC includes a large meeting room, private study rooms and shared spaces dedicated to teaching Native American culture, history and current events. An outdoor gathering area with a permanent performance circle provides an outlet for hosting events and activities for the community while creating a space for student interaction.


The Indigenous Cultural Center brings to focus a historic past physically through researched stemmed in building science to assimilate historic building practices into modern-day construction. From the wall assembly of the “Jacal” to the entry-way inspired by the expansive overhang of the “Vato,” to the innate thermal properties of the berming of the traditional “Roundhouse” structure, the aesthetics and performance are rooted in historic SRP-MIC building traditions. Each of the historical elements provide insight into the function of the Indigenous Cultural Center while reflecting on and reinterpreting the future of the SRP-MIC Community. In addition to the physical connection of place, the building incorporates sustainable strategies for rainwater utilization, shade strategies and thermal cooling.


Visually prominent and familiar, an embedded saguaro rib situates itself in the tilt panels as an abstraction of the oral story believed and heard by many. The living saguaro is seen not as a cactus, but rather an ancestor, a spirit, a symbol of life. By burning an unliving saguaro, one that has otherwise moved onto another stage of life, the spirit is being released. The design of the casted saguaro ribs into an elevation of the tilt-panel celebrates the releasing of spirits, while the imprint that is left from the removal serves as a reminder of the importance of this plant to the community.


The Business School

The Business School includes six classrooms for business students, an accounting and statistics learning center, conference rooms, eight faculty offices and student support space.  

The architecture and function of the learning spaces was strategic designed to meet market demands for business students. From former SCC students who are completing their four-year bachelor’s degrees at Ivy League schools, to working in the Netherlands for Deloitte or at Goldman Sachs — to international conference and competition champions, SCC invests heavily in its students — leading to highly qualified graduates. Allowing students to learn and congregate in the same space promotes better communication, collaboration and comradery. It also lends itself to establishing the same type of workplace students will find after graduation.

The Business School’s innovative learning space features state-of-the-art technology and that mimics productive workplaces. A large Accounting and Statistics Learning Center provides student and professional guidance. It features two private rooms for student groups to meet, study and work together. The lobby area includes business-focused access to real information like trending business news, stock prices and educational talks. Classroom design, including modular furniture allows for spaces to be transformed for multiple purposes including lecture, creative collaboration, business presentations, job and transfer school fairs, advisement, and special events.