• Contemporary Indigenous Architecture–The Pueblo Worldview
    Theodore S. Jojola & Lynn Paxson

Elizabeth Suina (Cochiti) of Suina Design + Architecture (Formerly Garret Smith Ltd), Valle Vista Elementary School, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Courtesy Suina Design + Architecture

The term “architecture” embodies more than function and decoration. For Indigenous communities, it also manifests itself as a collective process informed by culture, religion, history, and technology. Unfortunately, popular culture has tended to dominate our understanding of the built landscape of Indigenous communities. This is especially true of the Americas.   Everyone is familiar with certain types of Native American architecture. Igloos, pyramids, hogans, wigwams, and teepees are five of the most enduring symbols of the Americas. But how much more do we really know about the types of structures that Indigenous communities now build and whether these archetypes continue to influence modern design? The practice of contemporary Indigenous architecture remains relatively unknown in the general profession and the wider public. It is a neglected field of inquiry and figures little in the theory and history of architecture and design. This research on contemporary pueblo architecture seeks to fill in that void by presenting and showcasing examples from New Mexico (post-1975, the Indian Self-Determination Act) among the Pueblo Indians of the Southwest. This project sets the stage for an exhibition of this work in Albuquerque, NM.

Theodore S. Jojola is a distinguished professor and regents’ professor in the Community & Regional Planning Program, School of Architecture + Planning, University of New Mexico (UNM). Currently he is the founder and director of the Indigenous Design + Planning Institute (iD+Pi), which works with Indigenous peoples nationally and internationally by facilitating culturally informed approaches to community development. He is actively involved in major research projects on Indian education, Indigenous community development, and architecture. He is coeditor of two books, The Native American Philosophy of V.F. Cordova entitled How It Is (University of Arizona Press, 2007) and Reclaiming Indigenous Planning (McGill-Queens University Press, 2013). A third book is in the works, Contemporary Indigenous Architecture: Local Traditions, Global Winds (working title, University of New Mexico Press).

Lynn Paxson (Cherokee/Chickasaw/Choctaw heritage, not enrolled) is a professor of architecture at Iowa State University. Paxson spent her sabbatical at University of New Mexico for the fall 2012 semester to coteach iArch Design and Architecture course with Ted Jojola, which is where the idea to work on the Contemporary Indigenous Architecture exhibition came from. She is an active member of American Indian Council of Architects and Engineers.