Being part of a community makes us feel accepted and gives us a sense of pride. It also presents us with accountability to a set of shared values and responsibilities…aspects that will make a difference in the lives of Native American adolescents overcoming substance abuse at the Cherokee Nation Jack Brown Center.
Selser Schaefer Architects recently collaborated with the Cherokee Nation to create a new facility for this life-changing center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Borrowing from the success of our design for the Tulsa Boys Home, we organized the center as a microcommunity with multiple farm-inspired buildings rather than one enclosed facility. The community design brings structure into young residents’ lives while reflecting the environment they will experience when they leave.
Built on an old farmstead against a hillside that sweeps down into beautiful meadows, the facility conveys the relaxed and peaceful feel of a rural community. The architectural language is that of home, rather than institutional, with big porches that invite interaction and room for outdoor activities that will eventually include an equine therapy program. The facility also allows young people to address their challenges on a cultural level, through the use of traditional arts and crafts, as well as games like stickball.