Kendle Design Collaborative teamed with long-time friend and collaborator Dean Munkachy of Suite 6 Architecture to develop a culturally unique character for new Ambulatory Care Center for the Salt River Gila Indian Community. Building massing and details are inspired by elements of cultural significance including nature, symbols, and iconographic historic forms. A feeling of tranquility starts upon vehicular approach and builds as the visitor moves toward and eventually through the facility. The entry is welcoming, similar in feel to a boutique resort or spa, providing visitors a feeling of reassurance.

Shade, creating a respite from the hot sun, is one key to creating this welcoming feeling. A central “mall” space, designed as a “light catcher” and visually orienting element, is expressed both from the interior and exterior. The design promotes ease of transition from light to shade and outdoor heat to indoor comfort. Integration of architecture with landscape forms a cohesive theme, one that supports the other. Transparency is encouraged–blurring the line between the outdoors and the indoor environment. Views out to nature, especially to shade, dappled sun light through tress, and water, are encouraged as they can calm the soul. Outdoor waiting spaces double as places for community gathering. Water used is calming, healing, life’s blood of the community.

Building materials are reflective of the place: local stone and masonry are used for their permanent, higher-quality appearance and were supplied by Native American Business Owners. Keeping with historic Native American structures, materials are used efficiently and each material has a purpose. Decorative elements also function to create shade, catch light, and tell stories. Visual beauty is created through an honest expression of materials and detail.

  • Location: Chandler, Arizona
  • Square Feet: 140,000 s.f.
  • Services Provided: Architectural Design, Design Review Entitlements
  • Collaborators: Suite 6 Architecture