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Seven Clans Red Lake Casino, Red Lake Minn.

The architectural design for the newly opened Seven Clans Casinos Red Lake in Red Lake, Minn., followed the wishes of community elders of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, who own and operate the casino-hotel complex, located on the reservation's southern edge. The elders wanted the facility's design to respect tribal heritage, but also extrude an atmosphere of fun and relaxation.

Duluth, Minn.-based DGSW Architects accomplished both goals by designing the overall casino complex to resemble a traditional tribal "longhouse"-or gathering place-while incorporating contemporary building materials, such as Alucobond aluminum composite material by Mooresville, N.C.-based 3A Composites USA Inc., and a sophisticated color-changing LED exterior lighting system.

"They wanted to create a first-class facility that had a north woods flavor with contemporary elements in order to improve their gaming image," according to Erik C. Wedge, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, partner, DSGW Architects, who said the new casino was designed to replace the gaming facility that had been incorporated into the Red Lake Humanities Center.

The $21 million, 65,840-square-foot (6,117- m2) Sevens Clans Casinos Red Lake complex was designed to celebrate the area's woodlands culture in which the lake itself plays a major role. Wedge incorporated wood and stone in the building design, and also rippling images of the shimmering blue lake.


"Red Lake is very culturally important to the heritage of the Red Lake Nation," said Wedge, who recreated the water effect in exterior cladding with an intricate pattern of hourglass shapes formed with Alucobond ACM in the Spectra Ocean color.

The project utilized a total of 3,250 square feet (302 m2) of 0.16-inch (4-mm) Alucobond Spectra Ocean. The Alucobond Spectra Colors change colors as different wavelengths of light are reflected back to the audience, depending upon the viewing angle.

"The Alucobond Spectra is a very eye-catching material that could be shaped into a form that appears to undulate," Wedge said. "Different colors are viewed from different angles. The color scheme ranges from blue to green. It really does seem to shimmer like the lake. We couldn't have gotten this effect from any other product on the market. We wanted to recreate the shimmer of the lake on a bright, sunny day."

At night, the Spectra Ocean exterior panels produce a unique, eye-catching effect when bathed in a stateof- the-art LED lighting system that changes colors. "We've been getting a lot of positive comments," said Raymond J. Brenny, chief operating officer, Red Lake Gaming. "It's pulling people in from the highway."

"With the material's reflective qualities and the design of the panels, you get the impression of the moon shimmering off of the lake at night," Brenny said. "There's no other casino or business in this area like it. The Alucobond is well made and the installation looks outstanding. The wave pattern creates a very unique appearance."

The lake theme was also carried inside the complex with Alucobond Spectra Ocean ACM installed in decorative interior elements. Two panels were positioned behind the lobby check-in desk; and a series of double-sided curved Spectra Ocean panels were installed within a grand wooden canopy positioned over the facility's gift shop.

"There's a progression with the material," Wedge said. "When visitors are on Highway 89, they see the Alucobond. It gives them a transition from outside to inside. The Alucobond serves as an exterior focal point. In the lobby, it's a focal point behind the hotel desk and above the gift shop. There's one consistent material-the Alucobond. It draws the eye to it."

The new Seven Clans Casinos Red Lake complex- which includes a 40-room hotel, gift shop, two restaurants and a conference center-celebrated a soft opening Dec. 23, 2009, with its grand opening in January. The gaming hall features 310 slot machines, four black jack tables and two poker tables.

Woodstone Builders Inc., Minneapolis, was the general contractor; EBP LLC, Excelsior, Minn., was the distributor; and Atomic Architectural Sheet Metal Inc., Vadnais Heights, Minn., fabricated the Alucobond Spectra material and installed it in a route and return wet-seal method.

3A Composites USA Inc.,