Standing Rock Elementary School
Size: 66,630 sf
MOA ARCHITECTURE provided programming and design for a new elementary school to replace a cramped, outdated, and culturally devoid facility built in 1964. Drawing upon tribal culture and traditions, MOA designed a larger, up-to-date facility that accommodates 400 students.
Inspired by the school’s mission of providing “students with opportunities to excel spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally by increasing community involvement, and integrating Tribal Culture in the school’s learning environments,” our design incorporates significant tribal historical and cultural teachings.
The school’s plan is organized around two intersecting corridors. The main corridor orients to the Winter Solstice and at the nexus of the two corridors, a rotunda connects the earth and sky. Small, exterior openings in the upper portion of the rotunda allow sunlight to project star constellations onto the interior wall surface of the rotunda. The “stars” move and sweep across the interior surface of the drum throughout the day, and throughout the year. The small, exterior openings are aligned to pair specific constellations with meaningful time. For example, the Bear’s Lodge constellation, culturally associated with Bear’s Lodge and the Summer Solstice, aligns with the painted Bear’s Lodge wall markings on June 21.
The new school brings the long cultural traditions and beliefs of these proud people into a rich new learning environment that also incorporates the new technology of the 21st century to provide and educate the future generations of “Warriors” of the Standing Rock Community School system.