The Workun Garrick Partnership was commissioned by the Fort McKay First Nation to design an outdoor space that could act both as a place for annual Pow-Wow functions and Treaty Day celebrations. The facility’s inspiration was formed by the Chief’s mandate to construct this, and all future McKay projects with durable Masonry components. Large cast boulders would be used to form a large 15-row 1,800 person amphitheatre. An existing hill located near their ball diamonds was a natural choice to form the seating with minimal disturbance to the existing site. The location would allow for synergies when holding large events.
The Fort McKay First Nation also requested that the new amphitheatre seating be covered. This allowed the design team to explore many exciting possibilities. Several concepts were proposed but a teepee-inspired tensile structure design was selected by the Nation’s Chief and Council. Due to the sheer size of the amphitheatre and placement into the hill, the tensile structure will stand nearly 27 metres at the high point of the teepee. Workun Garrick envisioned an elegant structure that would sit among the neighbouring mature trees without being intrusive to the natural setting. Working with the fabric roof engineers in Texas and North Carolina, a balance between structure and design intent was seamlessly integrated. Workun Garrick believes that due to the efforts and vision of the entire design team, an iconic structure for the future of Fort Mckay and surrounding communities will be realized.