Tired of being cramped inside three aging buildings and scattered across 30 leased offices around the town of Durant, leaders of Oklahoma’s Choctaw Nation determined the time was right to invest in a new headquarters complex to accommodate the Nation’s rapid growth. The goals were multiple – to showcase the Choctaws’ achievements and heritage, to consolidate tribal services for its approximately 85,000 members into one convenient, easily accessible location, and to provide a home for approximately 900 employees.
To obtain a deeper insight into the tribe’s needs and vision for its new headquarters, FSB put together a company team of more than 20 members representing all architectural, engineering and interior design disciplines, who met with more than 30 groups of tribal leaders, employees, facility users and others. The process culminated with a day-long cultural immersion workshop, in which tribal members presented FSB staff with information about numerous aspects of the Choctaw Nation heritage, from its history and symbolism to its food and artwork. This knowledge helped our staff better design a permanent headquarters complex that would truly represent the Nation and fulfill its needs moving forward. In addition, staff members reviewed and analyzed more than 10 tribally owned sites, ranking them in order of their potential to support the new facility.
The new headquarters serves as home for tribal government officials, along with more than two dozen key departments, including the Nation’s development, land management, financial, human resources and other key divisions. Also housed within its walls are staff members who operate the expansive Choctaw Programs and Social Services Department.
The five-story building features two wings connected to a central core area and is designed to be both adaptable and expandable, with movable walls for maximum flexibility. Visitors entering through the front doors step into a light and welcoming open core area featuring golden wood tones, floor-to-ceiling windows and a ceiling-mounted Choctaw Nation seal. The building incorporates cultural displays throughout, along with a main Welcome Center/lobby area, a gift shop, offices, conference areas, break rooms and restrooms.
The impressive building envelope provides a large area of glass, mixed with natural stone, red brick and stucco, accentuated by a prominent decorative diamond pattern on the building façade. These elements and their colors allude to the rich history of the tribe and blend with the historic Choctaw Nation Capitol building and other planned structures for the complex. The entire building site is landscaped with ecologically friendly native plants and grasses and features a pond and walking trails.
(*project completed by Jason Holuby as a part of FSB)