Located on a historically significant site above the Puyallup River in Tacoma, the Elders Center, or House of Respect, a $10 million tribally-funded center for elders, fulfills a long-time dream for many tribal members. With views of Puget Sound and the Olympic mountains, the center offers spaces to learn, interact, and relax in indoor and outdoor activity spaces.
A Spirit Garden on the sunny south side of the building has components representing the Puyallups’ traditional tribal territory: a forested hillside of native plants, a cascading water feature, a small wetland area, and gathering spaces with a salmon grilling pit for group events. The generous patio provides outdoor tables, chairs and benches adjacent to the classrooms, lounge, and banquet room.
Beautifully hand-carved and painted cedar benches by local native artist Andrea Wilbur-Sigo are located on the accessible path around the south lawn, encouraging visitors to enjoy the landscaping, views, and realistic waterfall within the Spirit Garden.
The design was a collaborative effort with the Tribe’s Elders Advisory Committee, department staff, and the Tribal Council. In keeping with the elders’ desire for a project that supports their commitment to the environment, the facility includes several sustainable landscape features. A 12,000 square foot green roof of colorful drought-tolerant plantings is patterned after traditional weaving designs.
Location: Tacoma, Washington
Client: Puyallup Tribe of Indians
Architect: ARC Architects