Designed to appeal to the senses and evoke the natural environs of northern Michigan, the new Turtle Creek Casino and Hotel stands as a stunning example of modern architecture gone green. The 336,000 sq. ft. casino and hotel complex opened to rave reviews in June 2008.
The Grand Traverse Band of Ottowa and Chippewa Indians, the owners and operators of the casino and hotel complex, commissioned Walsh Bishop Architects of Minneapolis, MN, to design the new $80 million complex to sustainable standards. The Tribe made a deliberate decision to create a modern design with many organic and eco-friendly elements.
The building appears to rise from the earth with a green roof—a rarity in casino design. The exterior is clad in Reynobond® ACM—manufactured by Alcoa Architectural Products—in a custom Turtle Creek Brown color. Guests are drawn to the casino entrance, which is distinguished by ACM in a Turtle Creek Green color, and flanked by two large reflecting pools with streambed-like rock bottoms. Twelve champion Norway maple trees stand sentry on the sides of a stunning glass and steel porte cochere illuminated with LED lighting that captures and contrasts the seasonal qualities of the year. Plantings recall the forests and fields of Northern Michigan.
The steel-framed, barrier-free casino is bright and airy. A massive skylight, more than a football field in length, bisects the room’s 50’-high sloping ceilings. The 54,000-sq.-ft. gaming floor boasts a massive 30’-tall multi-colored waterfall framed by escalators leading to the second level. The complex includes 137 guest rooms and a 7,500 sq. ft. convention center.
The skylight allows natural light to penetrate the casino from ceiling to floor, an unusual feature for any casino. Natural light supplemented by LED lighting reduces the energy used for lighting on the floor by nearly 50 percent. Recessed LED lights behind massive horizontal panels in the ceiling are used to reflect the changing colors of the season. Even the furniture for the facility was selected for its ergonomic comfort.
The Riverside Group of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, fabricated and installed the project’s Reynobond ACM, which included approximately 54,000 sq. ft. of the 4mm-thick, PE-cored panels in a Turtle Creek Brown color; 8,000 sq. ft. of 4mm-thick, PE-cored panels in a Turtle Creek Green color; and 13,000 sq. ft. of 4mm-thick, PE-cored Brushed Aluminum Reynobond with a clearcoat finish. The latter was used for the returns to the windows and deep soffits. All panels were installed using Riverside Group’s R4-300 rainscreen system.
PCL Construction Services Inc., Burnsville, MN, served as the general contractor.
Photographs by Riverside Group, Windsor, Ontario, Canada