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Firms & Projects: David Garce Associates

David Garce Associates (DGA) was established in 1994 in Santa Clara, California, located approximately 40 miles south of San Francisco. In June 1998, Garce opened a second location near Salt Lake City, Utah, which is now his main office. DGA is Native American-owned and managed by Garce, who traces his ancestry to the Catawba tribe in South Carolina. David Garce is a licensed landscape architect in California and a certified landscape irrigation water auditor.

What sets them apart

David Garce is a member of the American Indian Counsel of Architects and Engineers (AICAE, www.aicae.org), a national organization for professional Native American architects, engineers, and designers. Garce is the group's past president and currently serves as secretary. He teaches "The Professional Practice of Landscape Architecture" at Utah State University's Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning department.

Project: The Catawba Cultural Center and Seven Feathers Museum


Cultural Center

The Catawba Cultural Center and Seven Feathers Museum was developed for the Catawba Indian Tribe with the group's tribal council along with Ken Rhyne (a Tuscarora) of Red Thunder Studio, and Mike Bunce, ASLA. Emphasis was placed on the interpretation of the cultural influences that the Catawba people had on the settlers, history and land of the Savanna upland area.


Cultural Center

Catawba means "People of the River," and it was appropriate to locate the museum and cultural facility with prominence near the Catawba River. As the master plan was developed, additional uses for the area were worked into the design. These include commercial, housing, recreational and hospitality facilities.

Project: The American West Heritage Center


Heritage Center

The American West Heritage Center (AWHC) was designed by team leader Nexus Architecture, Inc., and Andrew Merriell, the exhibit designer, Patty Timbimboo Madsen (a northwestern Shoshone) and Bruce Parry (also a northwestern Shoshone). The center was planned as a cultural and interpretive center devoted to telling the story of the American West between 1820 and 1920. To achieve this it incorporates the history of the entire American West and has a regional perspective--a perspective that illustrates the lives and interactions of people along the Wasatch Front and within the Bear River basin.


Heritage Center

Design Elements: The Bear River watershed is represented in an educational landscape as one approaches the welcome center. The center concept is strengthened by the use of representative plant materials and rock features, which are integrated throughout the site and interpreted with informative signage.

Visitors learn that the watershed serves a large area. Its drainage basin and variety of climate zones provide for a diversity of plant and animal growth, which in turn offers people living in or visiting the basin a vast resource for food, clothing, medicine, beauty, spirituality and many other needs.


Heritage Center

In the main entry court the visitor receives educational information and experiences the interweaving of cultures represented in the melding of water, curvilinear cobble and exposed aggregate patterns, which flow over and between the rigid and agricultural straight lines of the traditional welcome center entry walk.

The western patio provides guests with a glimpse of all the facilities and a view of the large relief map showing the American West Heritage Center site. The patio is made up of small planting areas with representative plants, and shows their traditional uses, and their Latin, English, and Shoshone names.

Seasonal Encampments: The Shoshone encampment showcases the migration patterns of the Shoshone during a four-season cycle. It is a living, organic exhibit. As the seasons progress the encampment is set up in a traditional seasonal location. The camp is then moved as one season changes to the next. During each of the four seasonal encampments a variety of plant materials will be available for interpretive staff to show how the Shoshone lived in each location during each season. The locations of the seasonal encampments will be represented in a variety of geographical settings. Native plants that would have flourished in the Cache Valley in 1820 will be replanted on the site and invasive pasture grasses and livestock feed will be systematically eliminated. The native plants will be presented along with their traditional uses: spiritual, medicinal, food, shelter, clothing and tools used by the Shoshone people.

Project: Chinese Community Christian Bible School


Bible School

The Chinese Community Christian Bible School (CCBS) project was led by BCA architects and engineers and involved David Garce Associates as the design landscape architect to develop the playgrounds and outdoor spaces to be unique and functional. The radiating design elements were an outgrowth of the drop-off area and pedestrian patterns of the school. The radial "sunbeams" became a significant feature of the school's outdoor space.

Project National Museum of the American Indian


Heritage Center

One of Garce's most personally satisfying projects is the National Museum of the American Indian's Cultural Resource Center for the Smithsonian Institution. The facility is the first of a four-part facility planned to tell the story of four New World regions (including Hawaii, South America and the polar regions of the north). The Cultural Resource Center lies six miles outside Washington, D.C. in Suitland, Md. nestled in a wooded area.

Site Acquisition: The first site was obtained by the Smithsonian Institution, but through the efforts of the design team including architects from the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), JS Polshek Architects, Metcalf Tobey Architects (Smith Partnership), the Alexandria office of EDAW, Inc. and the Native American Design Collaborative (NADC)--a more secluded wooded area was obtained. The new site provides a unique space where sacred articles can be removed from the center and taken into the outdoors for cultural and spiritual events and activities.


Heritage Center

Principal: David Garce

Employees: Supplemental consultants and collaborators.

Specialty: David Garce provides landscape design services with Native American flavor and a sensitivity for natural landscapes. Projects are completed from California to Washington, D.C. and from Washington state to Arizona.


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December 8, 2019, 7:48 am PDT

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