Winnebago Child Care Center
The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska’s urgent effort to preserve its stories, language and traditions across generations lies at the heart of this child-care center. The design serves as a scaffold for storytelling, creating layers of meaning out of its parti, site relationship, geometry, organization, materials, patterns and colors. Its program of educational, play and dwelling spaces serves the wellness and developmental needs of the whole family.
Ho-Chunk stories infuse the design in abstract form, teaching history. A hub-and-spoke parti embodies the Thunderhawk, conveying strength and protection. Program spaces extend from a central Rotunda whose shape recalls a traditional Ciporoke dwelling. Louvered, 360-degree clerestory windows cast dynamic shadows in patterns recalling Ho-Chunk basket-weaving. East-west circulation honors the tribe’s sun-centered creation story.
Three wings extend from the rotunda, their rectangular forms embodying the Longhouse. To the southwest, the daycare wing engages children at each developmental level, including special needs. Outdoor play equipment follows the existing topography, naturally separating age groups. The east wing offers career training for adults. The northern wing lodges the children of overnight workers. Adjacent, a row of tiny houses facilitates transitional living for young adults.
Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
At a glance
Designed to reflect Ho-Chunk culture, the center incorporates abstract depictions of tales, creating captivating spaces. The hub-and-spoke parti represents strength and protection, while the central Rotunda reflects the traditional dwelling, nurturing educational and play areas.