Albuquerque, New Mexico
A new middle & high school for Native American students

Project Team:
Architect: Jon Anderson
Project Manager: James Lucero
Dean Cowdrey, JAA

2010 AIA Western Mountain Region Merit Award (Unbuilt)
2010 AIA Albuquerque Citation Award (Unbuilt)

Project Status: Design
Renderings by Dean Cowdrey & James Lucero
Project Narrative:

The Native American Community Academy (NACA) is a relatively new public charter school representing over 60 tribes and indigenous peoples. This project seeks to work in tandem with the curriculum of the school to foster a reconnection to the land, to community, and to the traditions of reverence for nature.

The proposed site for the new school is an irregularly shaped lot (originally a gravel & sand mine) with drastic sloping topography near University Arena. The mission of the design is to reclaim the disturbed landscape and to heal the land in the spirit of the Native American way. Native Americans believe that people merely “borrow” the earth and it is our responsibility to nurture and give energy so that the earth can in turn give back. It is this symbiotic philosophy that the design strives to epitomize with clear acknowledgement towards the notion of earth and sky, the path of the sun, the natural cycles of the earth (relative to this specific place), and the strengthening of community.

The strategy to heal the site is to use terraced gardens to provide areas for students to reconnect to their farming heritage as well as stabilize and mediate the existing drastic topographical change.