The Gateway Project

FSB Architectural Cues for Chickasaw Nation Visitor Center

A project begins with an idea. Firmly planted, the idea becomes a seed that grows ever stronger into a dream of increasing passion. The sowing process can take the form of sharing the idea with key players to gain support both in terms of solidifying and justifying the need and supporting the idea financially. If support is great and the passion strong, the dream becomes a vision that is ripe for advancing. All of my discussions with the leadership of the Chickasaw Nation tell me we are ready to move forward.

(new post every Tuesday. Coming Next; Anatomy of a “Charrette”, The Exchange of Ideas)

The “vision” of the Chickasaw Nation is to create a Visitor Center for the Chickasaw National Recreation Area and other area attractions that will be prominently located at the intersection of Oklahoma Highway 7 and US Highway 177 in Sulphur, Oklahoma at the entrance to the park lands. The facility will serve as both a visitor information center and administration office for the national park land and area attractions. The purpose of the Visitor Center will be to draw people into the park, highlight local attractions and educate visitors about the Chickasaw Nation’s connection and history with the park.

FSB brainstormed with the Chickasaw leadership to craft a message that would embody the vision of the Visitor Center in a clear project declaration. This led to the creation of the “mission statement” for the Chickasaw Nation Visitor Center:

“To communicate both the Chickasaw and National Park history and heritage to the public and to create interest and excitement about the park and surrounding area attractions.”

The seed has been planted and the dream forged into a vision.  The next step is to define the program requirements for the facility. The springboard for giving meaning to the project is cast with an initial design goal; “to create a Visitor Center that is architecturally dynamic and will act as a gateway to the national recreation area.” It’s time to get the team rounded up. We need to set the stage for the design effort and prepare for what I feel is one of the more adrenalin driven project activities; the charrette.

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