Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Interpretive Centre

Location:

Fort MacLeod, Southern Alberta

Scope of Work:

Exhibit Master Planning, Schematic and Detailed Design, Construction Drawings and Multimedia Concepts.
A UNESCO World Heritage site working closely with the architect, this is a great example of the story helping shape the building. The five levels of the building are a direct adaptation of the exhibit concept based on the five themes.

Project Budget:

$1.5 million

Completed:

1987

Architect:

LeBlond Partnership Architects & Planners

Fabricator:

PML Exhibit Services Ltd

Media:

McCloskey Productions Inc.

Exhibit Area:

7,000 sq. ft.

“Upon entering the Centre, visitors are overwhelmed by the drama and the spirit of the jump unfolding in front of them. The interior is designed to bring visitors to the top of the cliff, allowing the opportunity to orient themselves and to contemplate the buffalo driving lanes leading to the kill site. The skylights over the ecology and buffalo jump exhibits, and the location of the various stairs joining all levels and exhibition galleries, demonstrate the interdependency between the exhibit designs and the structure. The building is hand and glove with the site, similar to the native way of life and their environment.”
–Kenneth F. Brown Asia Pacific Culture and Architecture, Design Award Archive
The first upper level interprets the land. The second introduces the Blackfoot Nation. The third level Interprets the activities in preparation and execution of the hunt. A fourth level multimedia presentation introduces the European contact and the ensuing extermination of the buffalo herds. Finally, the fifth, ground level, interprets the archaeological research programs and processes. In the spring of 2013 we were invited back to facilitate interpretive workshops with primary stakeholders to help create a vision for a renewed visitor experience.