To the People of Warm Springs, stories are gifts, a repository of traditions, voices of the elders, a vessel of cultural wisdom passed from generation to generation. Lengthy discussions on what the Museum at Warm Springs might be yielded stories of stones. “Let me tell you what stones mean to us. We use stones to cook, stones to wash our clothes, stones for games and stones for our sweat lodges. We live on a bed of stone, a huge plain that came from within the earth as a hot liquid. When the liquid stone met the sky, it cooled and lay quietly beside the mountains. Water formed rivers and cut deep canyons in the stone plain and made a place for us to live, a gift from the earth."
The Museum at Warm Springs lies deep within the Deschutes River Canyon where the Warm Springs People have lived for thousands of years; where the cimate is milder, the light more diffused and life more bountiful. The museum building is located in a place of encampment —a cottonwood grove beside the river— where the tribes’ traditional possessions can live with meaning. The heirlooms and artifacts held in the Museum belong to the landscape as well as the Tribes. In the high desert they are alive and their color and texture flower in the clear desert air.
The Museum atWarm Springs is constructed with a rich palette of materials comparable to the desert landscape. The museum’s form and materiality respond to the stories and work create a quiet fusion of culture and place.
Project executed while partner at Stastny & Burke Architecture