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Twin Arrows Wins at G2E

Twin Arrows Named 'Best Native American Casino' at G2E Conference

The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise’s (NNGE) Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, located 20 minutes east of Flagstaff, Ariz., was recognized as the top Native American Casino Facility in the nation at this week’s G2E (Global Gaming Expo) Conference. The Friedmutter Group of Las Vegas, which designed the structure in collaboration rsz_twin_arrows_2011-04-20_birds_eye_renderingwith Navajo tribal members, and JBA Consulting Engineers, which led the active systems engineering, submitted an entry for the stunning 267,000-square-foot facility that showcases Navajo culture and original artworks throughout the property.

“We are grateful to The Friedmutter Group of Las Vegas and JBA Consulting Engineers for their ability to culturally infuse Navajo into the building by incorporating the vision of our team in the exterior and interior designs, décor and engineering,” states Derrick Watchman, NNGE CEO. “We are proud to be recognized as the number one Native American Casino Facility in the Nation and congratulate The Friedmutter Group, JBA Consulting Engineers and our employees for this prestigious recognition.”

He added, “We would also like to thank our culture committee that worked tirelessly to ensure Navajo traditions and culture were accurately and appropriately showcased.”

Best Native American Casino Facility in Design and Engineering

G2E’s Casino Design Awards – the preeminent design awards program for the gaming industry – recognize excellence in architecture, design, engineering and construction. Each entry was judged on its own merits by a panel of five distinguished individuals selected for professional expertise in design, planning and construction. All licensed Architectural Firms, Design Companies and Construction Companies were eligible to enter.

Judges evaluated The Friedmutter Group, JBA Consulting Engineers and Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort on the following criteria:

•    Unique and original thinking
•    Compatibility and harmony of the project to its environment
•    Consideration of geographic and climatic conditions
•    Use of appropriate or innovative building forms and materials
•    Inclusion of meticulous and inventive detailing
•    Striving for special and unique design solutions to the positioning aimed at and the success achieved

Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort was recognized as the top Native America Casino Facility for both for its design and engineering.

“We are enormously honored to be recognized with this prestigious award and gratefully thank the Navajo Nation, who hired us for the project,” said Friedmutter Group founder and CEO Brad Friedmutter. “The success of this project is a direct reflection of the great teamwork and cooperation of the entire team starting with the leadership of Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. We worked very closely with the owners and SICON, the owner’s representative, to translate their vision into an overall design that celebrates their rich Navajo Culture throughout the property and are so proud to be part of this winning team.”

Jim Gist, chief sales and marketing officer for JBA Consulting Engineers added, “While we have worked on projects across the globe, this team and the opportunity to create something truly unique in the Native America Gaming space was an honor for our entire firm.”

Culturally Infused Building and Design

Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort’s five-story hotel with 90 rooms, 16,000 square foot conference center, heated-indoor swimming pool, fitness center and casino floor with rotunda, food court, steakhouse, seafood bar, sports bar, 24-hour café, gift shop and coffee shop were completed in May 2013. 400 Navajo construction workers were employed on the project that began September 2011.

Exterior:
The main drive and porte corchere are expressed architecturally as the upward movement of ancestors through the Four Worlds.
A water feature at the entrance symbolizes the rising waters that motivated the people to move up and seek new worlds to live in.
The hotel tower features a dimensional over-scaled weave pattern, suggesting the work of hands and hearts; the weaving of baskets, textiles, and song.
The texture and lines sweeping over the façade of the lower casino buildings relates to the winds sweeping across the Nation bringing life to the Dine.
A cascading glass entry to the south of the casino façade recalls the Grand Falls of the Little Colorado River.

Entrance:
At the main entrance of the casino guests enter through a black textured stone vestibule, a contemporary abstraction of the First World.
The entrance also contains stone soffits that depict the 1st World of the Insect people, the 2nd World of Bluebirds and Swallow people, the 3rd World of the Grasshoppers, and the 4th World where Man and Woman came to be.
A custom chandelier in the rotunda depicts the vertical rise of the people through each world. Hand blown glass rings represent the colors of each world. Droplets of crystal cascade through the rings like water two chrome tubes in the center of the rings symbolize the reeds that were used to enter through the hard sky of the world.
The rotunda floor mirrors the chandelier in an infinity circle reflection.

Casino:
The casino’s theme is “The Glittering World”.
Its ceiling depicts a Navajo night sky and the Milky Way with custom decorative chandeliers.
At the center of the casino an area is surrounded by a custom silver and bronze metal chain drapery. The metal drapery creates an oval with grass and reed designs.
Crystal lanterns surround the outer layers, and inside a reflective chandelier with independent rays of light form a central ceiling feature.
Additional detail throughout the casino recalls the glittering Dook’ o’osliid, the western mountain that “light shines from within”.

Other Interiors:
Custom commissioned artwork is featured throughout the resort, casino and conference center.
Each restaurant has a different theme celebrating Navajo traditions.
Resort rooms and suites (available in three different configurations) feature a contemporary décor. Select rooms have panoramic mountain views, but each has superior linens, over-sized 100 percent Egyptian cotton towels and the iBahn entertainment system, which features the latest technology in room entertainment (a personalized multimedia HD TV experience).
The resort is further embellished with the sacred colors of the Navajo Nation and the unique basket weave design.

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Navajo Nation focuses on first casino in Arizona

Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise’s first casino in Arizona, is expected to be a major economic engine for the Flagstaff area.

“Twin Arrows will create a new benchmark in gaming entertainment while improving the economic health and prosperity of the Navajo Nation,” said Derrick Watchman, chief executive officer of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. “As northern Arizona’s premier destination casino resort, Twin Arrows will create approximately 800 full-time jobs with an annual payroll of $34 million, including salaries and benefits.”

Az Business caught up with Watchmen before the 267,000-square-foot facility opened over Memorial Day weekend to get his thoughts about Northern Arizona’s hottest new spot.

Az Business: What has been your biggest challenge opening the casino?
Derrick Watchman: This project has been going on for five years, from ideas and concepts to financing and securing land, but there really hasn’t been any one big obstacle. We’re shorthanded on employees. Each employee has to be licensed. With three other casinos, there is a lot of turnover, as there is with all restaurants and in retail. We had challenges securing money. I was hired to secure financing, but about that time (2008 and 2009), the market crashed. But, we convinced the tribe that we were a really good investment. Other challenges? We hit rock-bottom — literally. At groundbreaking. It was limestone. There are only a few big rock [demolishing companies] in the country so we had to secure them. The rock you see around here, around the lobby and hotel, is part of the land.

AB: How does Twin Arrows reflect the Navajo Nation?
DW: When we started development, we identified a cultural committee. They worked with the architects and decided how to incorporate Navajo elements. The chandelier in the rotunda is actually representational of the four levels of worlds we believe in. Each hotel depicts the four worlds of the Navajo. We commissioned 33 different, very well-known Navajo artists. They put in their vision. You’ll see depictions of Navajo beliefs, creatures, animals, plant life and different directions. Our nation is known for mutton stew and fry bread, too, which is served in the casino food court.

AB: What can visitors expect?
DW: Our goal is to be a four-diamond resort. The amenities in the rooms are all geared to four-star ratings. When someone comes to Twin Arrows, we want them to say, “Wow.” We want to be a great food venue. We have the latest and greatest slot machines. Our poker room has 12 tables. We plan on having tournaments. We want folks to stay here, have meetings here, and have fun. I’ve heard the term “oasis in the desert.” We want to be that.

AB: Why did you pick that particular location for its first Arizona casino?
DW: We’re next to Flagstaff and the Indian Reservation – right where it stops. We’re also on Route 66, a historic route, and on the way out or into Flagstaff and Winslow. It’s an ideal location.