Lambton College’s Indigenous
Outdoor Gathering space


Lambton College’s Indigenous Outdoor Gathering space offers students a place to connect with culture on campus. The pavilion will host ceremony, cultural teachings including storytelling, and the natural site will allow students, faculty and visitors to host small and large gatherings such as sweat lodges and pow wow’s. The design is inspired by the architectural precedent of the region, the wigwam structure, and comes complete with built-in seating and a central fire inside. Beyond the inspiration provided by traditional forms of the region, the engagement revealed a number of Indigenous-centric associations that were layered into the structure, including a strong connection with nature. The site is located in an optimum area of the campus, a treed area tucked into a forested area of campus, that allows for increased biophilic connections, including views to the forest, integration of natural materials and form, and references to local flowers. Through engagement with the local community and Lambton College staff,  a number of cultural associations were brought forward including:  

Seven Grandfather Teachings: The exterior of the structure is organized by seven grandfather teachings: Wisdom (Beaver), Love (Eagle), Respect (Buffalo), Bravery (Bear), Honesty (Raven), Humility (Wolf) and Truth (Turtle).

Clan System: There are ten clans that are integrated into the structure: Crane, Loon, Fish, Bear, Marten, Deer, Bird, Turtle, Turkey, and Wolf.

Medicine Wheel and Four Directions: The layout is guided by the four directions, creating four quadrants that are acknowledged with animal references.  

Connection to the sky: The smoke hole, which also aligns to the four directions, offers connection with father sky. The lightening layout is designed to honor the ancestors that have passed on.


Higher Education

Stage of Completion

Schematic Design (2021)


Sarnia, Ontario, Canada


1194 sq.ft. 111 m2


Lambton College

Architect of Record

Tillmann Ruth Robinson Architects

Indigenous Design Architect

Tawaw Architecture Collective Inc.

Design Team

Wanda Dalla Costa (Principal), Tierra Miller, Kyron Hardy, Claudio Vekstein, Skye Gillson