Public Program

  • Indigenous ways of being, knowing, doing and connecting in architecture, 2021–22 lecture series
    Wanda Dalla Costa and Tierra Miller
    Arizona State University-Indigenous Design Collaborative

Wanda Dalla Costa, Claudio Vekstein, with Tierra Miller, Rhonda Harvey, Dolores Cremonini (Indigenous Design Collaborative), Upper Fruitland Cemetery, 2018–19, New Mexico.

A lecture series through Arizona State University—Indigenous Design Collaborative (ASU—IDC) that brings three leading Indigenous designers and scholars in architecture and design based in the United States and Canada to interact with students, youth, faculty, professionals, and policy makers in the US Southwest. The objective of the series is to bring greater visibility to the values and principles of Indigenous design thinking/place keeping and to build bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous designers. The desire is to illuminate the differences in methodology and process, outcomes and catalysts, and to facilitate connections and discourse for collective examination. By identifying critical divergences in conventional design thinking, new lessons emerge for pedagogy and practice. By exploring ideas for practice, the IDC aims to spark future ambassadors who support other ways of doing architecture.

Wanda Dalla Costa is a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation. She is an architect, a professor, and a YBCA 100 2019 honoree, an award which celebrates people, organizations, and movements shifting culture through ideas, their art, and their activism. At Arizona State University, she is the director and founder of the Indigenous Design Collaborative, a community-driven design and construction program, which brings together tribal community members, industry and a multidisciplinary team of ASU students and faculty to co-design solutions for tribal communities. Dalla Costa was part of Unceded at the 2018 Venice Biennale where she joined 18 Indigenous architects from across Turtle Island to share an Indigenous vision of the future. Her firm, Tawaw Architecture Collective is based in Phoenix.

Tierra Miller is a member of the Navajo Nation. She is the Program Manager of Indigenous Design Collaborative at Arizona State University and is an architectural designer with Tawaw Architecture Collective Inc. Her specialization is Indigenous engagement and place-based design. She has worked on a variety of projects from residential and education to large community development initiatives. Tierra holds a masters of architecture from Arizona State University (2019) and a bachelor of arts in architecture (2017) from University of New Mexico.

The Indigenous Design Collaborative (IDC) is a community-driven design and construction program, which brings together tribal community members, industry and a multidisciplinary team of ASU students and faculty to co-design and co-develop solutions for tribal communities in Arizona. Projects range from tribal sustainable housing to urban Indigenous place-keeping studies. The initiative prioritizes historical understanding, community-driven metrics, Indigenous design thinking, technological innovation, local vernacular intelligence, holistic systems solutions thinking, and collaboration with local practitioners.