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Window Rock, Arizona Home to the Navajo Nation

Architects iN Design was privileged to be selected for further consideration on the design for the National Navajo Code Talkers Museum and Veterans Center just outside of the main Navajo Reservation in Window Rock, Arizona. The new property which is part of a 208 acre campus provides a unique opportunity to create a real asset for the Navajo Nation and the community at large.
Sensitivity to the Navajo Sacred Land, Integration of the building with the site, and the Navajo Connection to Nature are the three main points of consideration to the building program. The museum must also meet the needs of a large diverse audience.

On most projects I have several days to weeks to visit the site so the site can tell me what it wants to be. In this case I only had one day so I started off at early dawn to watch the sun rise over the site. The site has several wonderful outcropping of various levels growing out of Mother Earth. These outcroppings take advantage of the very wide East / West vista of the countryside as it appears that you can see for miles from top of this small mountain. Taking advantage of this height and view is critical to the museum presence for several reasons. First it will announce the location of the Code Talker's Museum as the front of the museum can bee seen from a distance while traveling on State Route 264. Secondly it will allow for the building to be dug into the hills to establish a firm foundation that like the building the Navajo Nation is firmly embedded into Mother Earth. The Southwest face of these outcrops had several large natural "C" shaped areas that have been eroded away over the melinia and define the cliffs. This is where I pan to use the site to develop the building.

I remember seeing several "C" and double "C" shaped pieces off jewelry in the museum store. The museum attendant indicated to me that the "C" and double "C" shape is called a Yei and that it is a holy figure in the Navajo culture. The double 'C' symbolizes healing and many Navajo's use the single "C" to symbolize the Family Clan or Family unit as a hole.
" This "C" shape immediately gave me the idea of creating a giant "C" shaped building that can be buried into Mother Earth adjacent to one of the natural C shaped outcrop areas on top of the mountain. This will symbolizing the main connection of the Navajo's to mother Earth. When you approach the building from the North Side of the property (the parking lot side of the site) all you will see is about two feet of the museums exterior wall coming above the natural grade. From here the roofs would grow upwards towards Father Sky. The Main Entrance to the museum would have a reversed (Bird Shaped) winged roofs and wall system for immediately identity as the Main Point of Entry to the museum. This would basically be a smaller top floor that will have stairs and elevators down to the museum level. Just like the building takes advantage of the wide open views of the surrounding site, the view from this entry level will overlook the main museum floor given patrons immediate viewing of the Museum, Veterans Center and unobstructed vista of the East / West country side. Heavy wood poles and metal roofing will make up the roofing system and tie the architecture back to the Navajo tradition.

Architects iN Design Rendering

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