The goal of this project was to create a casino/hotel/convention center campus that would serve as a cultural and entertainment destination. The design vision was decidedly modern and forward-looking. The design of this project reflects the historic importance of gaming in Ho-Chunk culture and celebrates the Ho-Chunk tradition of gracious hospitality. Outdoor dining and activity areas as well as a large outdoor event space extend the visitor experience to the surrounding natural landscape.
This site master plan for the 47-acre parcel surrounding the existing Ho-Chunk Gaming facility will serve as a destination entertainment district for the Greater Capital Region. The plan includes an expanded casino and a new hotel/conference center, heritage center, regional sports complex, restaurants, retail space, and other entertainment. The objective is to create a vibrant and unique place in which social and physical connectivity is strengthened, environmental sustainability is prioritized, and Ho-Chunk culture and heritage are celebrated.
The proposed Heritage Center is designed to fulfill the goal of sharing, preserving, and celebrating the stories of the Ho-Chunk nation, who have made the Madison area, the “Four Lakes” region, their home for thousands of years. The architecture of the proposed Heritage Center was designed to create a timeless context for celebrating and honoring the culture and history of the Ho-Chunk people.
The site and landscape design involve deliberate sculpting of the land to define and create space. This includes defining the Great Circle, berming to screen the parking structures, creating view corridors, and referencing Ho-Chunk heritage through the tradition of mound-building. Circles are important in Ho-Chunk culture as the form of their gathering spaces, and this is reflected in the Great Circle and the Great Room of the Heritage Center. The Great Circle is a large circular lawn-covered green space that will be the venue for celebrations and performances. On axis with the Great Circle is a large overhead garage door that opens the Conference Center to the outside, creating a stage for performances and celebrations. The existing wetland on the site would be restored and a surrounding prairie and oak savanna would feature interpretive walking paths. The buildings—except the heritage center, which would be set off from other facilities—are designed to seem like one large structure with strong complementary architecture.
Specifically, the master plan includes:
Ho-Chunk plans to build the district in phases, beginning with the expansion of the existing casino and the addition of a hotel with restaurants, a conference center, and structured parking. The second phase would include the development of the heritage center and sports complex.