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Eco-friendly hotel appeals to the senses

Completed in June 2008, the Turtle Creek Casino and Hotel in Williamsburg, Mich., is designed to appeal to the senses and evoke the natural environs of northern Michigan. An example of modern architecture gone green, the 336,000-square-foot (31,214-m2) complex is owned and operated by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians,Peshawbestown, Mich. The tribe made a deliberate decision to create a modern design with many organic and eco-friendly elements, commissioning Walsh Bishop Architects, Minneapolis, to design the new $80 million complex to sustainable standards.

Appearing to rise from the earth with a green roof, the building exterior is clad in Reynobond aluminum composite material from Alcoa Architectural Products, Eastman, Ga., in the custom-color Turtle Creek Brown. The casino entrance is distinguished by Turtle Creek Brown cladding and is framed by two large reflecting pools with rock bottoms. Twelve champion Norway maple trees stand sentry on the sides of a glass and steel porte cochere illuminated with LED lighting that captures and contrasts the seasonal qualities of the year. The plants recall the forests and fields of northern Michigan.

The steel-framed, barrier-free casino is bright and airy and features a massive skylight, more than a football field in length, that bisects the room's 50-foot- (15-m-) high sloping ceilings. The 54,000- square-foot (5,017-m2) gaming floor boasts a 30-foot- (9-m-) tall, multicolored waterfall framed by escalators leading to the second level. The complex includes 137 guest rooms and a 7,500-square-foot(697-m2) convention center.

The skylight allows natural light to penetrate the casino from ceiling to floor, an unusual feature for any casino. The natural light, supplemented by the LED lighting, reduces the energy used for lighting on the floor by nearly 50 percent. Recessed LED lights behind horizontal panels in the ceiling are used to reflect the changing colors of the season. Furniture for the facility was selected for its ergonomic comfort.


The Riverside Group, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, fabricated and installed 54,000 square feet of 0.16-inch (4-mm) Reynobond ACM PE core in custom Turtle Creek Brown with a Valspar finish for the building façades; 8,000 square feet (743 m2) of 0.16-inch Reynobond ACM PE core in custom Turtle Creek Green with a Valspar finish at the entrance;and 13,000 square feet (1,208 m2) of 0.16-inch Reynobond Brushed Aluminum ACM PE core with a clear Valspar finish for the window returns and deep soffits. All panels were installed using Riverside Group's R4-300 rainscreen system. The Valspar finish is from Minneapolis-based Valspar.

In December 2008, Walsh Bishop Architectswas awarded a G2E Casino Design Award for their work on the Turtle Creek Casino and Hotel. PCL Construction Services Inc., Burnsville, Minn., was the general contractor.

Alcoa Architectural Products