Jessica Hoffman to complete Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, Miwok Tribal Administration Building

14 July 2018
Photo Credit: Nicholas Swan Photography Photo Credit: Nicholas Swan Photography

For CREW Utah member and Architect Jessica Hoffman, the satisfaction of a recent project came from blending her client’s cultural identity with the finished building.

Hoffman, an associate at FFKR Architects, was the project lead in designing a tribal administration building for the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians in northern California. The 20,000 square-foot building, which opened in January 2018, serves a combination of administration and educational functions.

“We wanted the tribe to have pride in the building and feel like it was their building,” Hoffman said. “We wanted it to feel really authentic. The way we did that was by using materials that were earthlike in textures. We kept talking about soft textures and rich colors, earthy colors.”

For example, Hoffman used cedar shingles that were cut like fish scales as a design element on two stair towers. The shingles mimic an early Miwok structure for storing food and match a nearby building with the same detail.

“We were able to grab things from their historical culture and their existing built environment and use it. On the face of the building, we used this cement panel, which was fun because we were able to incorporate a pattern, the Maidu mountain pattern.”

The Maidu people are related to the Miwok tribes and figure prominently in tribal histories and traditions.

Hoffman has worked on several tribal projects throughout the western United States, and she joined CREW Utah at the beginning of 2018.

“Architecture is male dominated, and I don’t have a lot of women mentors,” Hoffman said. “For me to be able to sit and talk to any other woman who is a professional in this world…it’s been really exciting for me.”


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