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Odeyto named one of 10 Best Canadian Architecture Projects of 2018

Seneca’s new Indigenous Centre recognized for Best Implementation of Native Building Practices

Odeyto building

Exterior of Odeyto, Seneca's Indigenous centre at Newnham Campus.

Toronto, January 3, 2019 – Odeyto, Seneca’s new Indigenous centre at Newnham Campus, has been named one of the top 10 Canadian Architecture Projects of 2018. The building has been recognized for Best Implementation of Native Building Practices by Azure Magazine.

Named after the Anishnaabe word “Odeyto” – which translates to “the good journey” – the multipurpose facility is the new home of FirstPeoples@Seneca. It is also accessible to members of the broader community.

Equipped with an office space, a computer lab, a kitchen and dedicated space for Indigenous elders, Odeyto is the only Indigenous hub of its kind between Highway 401 and Barrie, Ontario.

“We are delighted to see Odeyto’s architectural achievements being recognized in this way,” said Mark Solomon, Associate Dean Student Services and Indigenous Education. “We are very proud of what we have achieved with the space, which has quickly become a daily destination for Indigenous teaching, learning and gathering. It has become a home for our Indigenous students.”

Odeyto has remained a hub of activity since its grand opening in September. The building has been used as a teaching space for faculty to learn how to incorporate Indigenous content into their curriculum. Indigenous students also visit Odeyto daily. They often cook together and host regular potluck dinners and game nights in the space. Indigenous culture influenced various aspects of the facility, from its general exterior shape to the details of its interior décor. The space was designed by Gow Hastings Architects and Two Row Architect, a 100% Indigenous-owned and operated firm on the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve in southern Ontario.

Odeyto interior

Interior of Odeyto, Seneca’s Indigenous centre at Newnham Campus. Photo by Tom Arban.

“We are honoured to be part of such an important project in Canada,” said Valerie Gow, Partner, Gow Hastings Architects. “Working with Two Row Architect, Seneca and the First Peoples@Seneca was an opportunity for our team to learn about the incredible art, stories, and history of Indigenous peoples in Canada while helping design for the future. Seeing the impact Odeyto is having on the Seneca campus is inspiring.”

The structure looks like a canoe resting on its side and the curvature of the roof mimics the position of the sun on June 21, the annual National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada. A neon sign created by the Cree visual artist Joi Arcand is among the Indigenized features inside Odeyto.

“This project demonstrates that meaningful, appropriate, and celebratory Indigenous architecture can be made when three priorities converge – the vision of a client, their commitment to allocate deserving funds, and a design implementation process that recognizes the ‘For Us - By Us’ doctrine that is being put forth by Turtle Island’s Indigenous architects,” said Brian Porter, Principal, Two Row Architect.

About Seneca
Combining career and professional skills training with theoretical knowledge, Seneca’s expert faculty provide a polytechnic education to 30,000 full-time and 60,000 part-time students. With campuses in Toronto, York Region and Peterborough and education partners around the world, Seneca offers degrees, graduate certificates, diplomas and certificates in more than 300 full-time, part-time and online programs. Seneca’s credentials are renowned for their quality and respected by employers. Co-op and work placements, applied research projects, entrepreneurial opportunities and the latest technology ensure that Seneca graduates are highly skilled and ready to work.

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About Gow Hastings Architects
Gow Hastings Architects is a Toronto-based studio creating vibrant spaces that engender engaging and memorable user experiences. Coupling the agility of a boutique studio with the strength of an established firm, we deliver on big ideas while retaining warmth and a closeness to clients and projects. We provide fully integrated, multidisciplinary consulting services from a qualified team of professionals diversely trained in architecture, interior design, and graphic design. Our wide-ranging perspective gives clients comprehensive design solutions to meet their institutional, public, and commercial needs. We create dynamic and experientially-rich spaces that bring people together to learn, make, eat, work, and connect. Gow Hastings is recognized in particular for its innovations in higher education design, with an award-winning portfolio of over 250 projects completed for Colleges and Universities.

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About Two Row Architect
Since its inception in 1992, Two Row Architect has been providing comprehensive architectural services with an emphasis on incorporating Indigenous values and design principles for its clients that include chiefs and councils, individuals, institutions, and urban Indigenous service providers.

For more information, please contact:

Lisa Pires
Seneca Media Relations

Greg Burchell
Gow Hastings Marketing Manager
416.920.0031 x23

Brian Porter and Matthew Hickey
Two Row Architect