Posts tagged with "studio:indigenous":

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studio:indigenous wants to design architecture rooted in Native American worldviews

Chris Cornelius, founder of Milwaukee-based studio:indigenous, knew what he wanted to do when he started graduate school at the University of Virginia. His goal was no less than to develop an architecture that is based in the timeless worldviews of Native Americans. For the past decade, that goal has been unwavering, and has led to award-winning built and unbuilt work.

Cornelius is a member of the Oneida Nation, and the stories and traditions of native peoples are a key part of his identity. Every project by studio:indigenous starts with an intensive investigation of the narratives surrounding the client’s needs. Often working for Wisconsin tribes, Cornelius’s designs depart from the all-too-common iconographic motifs built on many reservations. (There is more than one turtle-shaped building in the Oneida Nation.) Rather, the work is consciously produced outside of a specific style and without direct reference to native architecture or symbolism. Instead of relying on historical sweat lodge structures for the sweat lodge-changing room at the Indian Community School of Milwaukee, Cornelius repurposed the stones that are used in the ceremonies held in the steamy sacred spaces as a base for the design. In the Oneida Veterans Memorial, on the Wisconsin Oneida Reservation, the long history of the Oneida’s service to the United States is manifest in the scaled timeline stretching though three acres of prairie grass.

“I realized at some point along this journey that I am not going to tie into anything stylistically,” said Cornelius. “I had to be able to trust myself. Most important to me, first and foremost, was to be a good architect. The Native American thing is not going to change; it’s who I am. So I have allowed my voice to express itself. That has turned into an aesthetic that is latent to the process.”

Cornelius works through complex drawings and models, producing images and forms that embody the narratives of his projects. The drawings, which have been recognized with multiple architectural and artistic awards, are intricately layered with colors, lines, and shapes. While times were slow during the recession, this drawing technique became an outlet for his continued research into articulating native narratives into formal operations. A series of drawings, entitled Radio Free Alcatraz, is a study of the Native American Occupation of Alcatraz Island in the late 1960s. A self-initiated project, Radio Free Alcatraz imagines that Native Americans never left Alcatraz and were planning to build a university on the island. Other similar projects formalize small pavilions based on the Oneida calendar.

Yet it is not only Native clients that have found value in studio:indigenous’s design approach. The focus on culture resonates with many groups that have strong cultural identities. studio:indigenous has worked with communities throughout Milwaukee, and found that the techniques translate across cultures and traditions. In every case, though, Cornelius sees the work not only as an embodiment of stories and traditions of the past, but also as the development of a contemporary story.

“The architecture is part of the current story,” Cornelius said. “What is it that we want to make or achieve? The stories haven’t necessarily changed, but the characters have.”

Indian Community School Milwaukee, WI

The true genesis of studio:indigenous came about through a collaboration with Antoine Predock for the Indian Community School, just outside of Milwaukee. Completed in 2007, the goal was to help ensure that the architecture was an accurate translation of the cultural values of the 11 Native Nations represented in the student body. The pre-kindergarten-through-eighth-grade, 150,000-square-foot school also serves as a community center for the Native American population of the Milwaukee area.

Radio Free Alcatraz San Francisco, CA

A speculative look at the occupation of Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay, Radio Free Alcatrazimagines a new Native American University, part of the occupiers’ original plan. Through complexly layered drawings, sketches, and multimedia, the speculations are put on paper to be reflected upon. Historical, contemporary, and speculative forms and information are blended together in each drawing to produce a new understanding of the island and its possibilities.

Sweat Lodge Changing Room Milwaukee, WI

Known as the “Grandfather Stone,” the Sweat Lodge Changing Room for the Indian Community School of Milwaukee takes the form of a stone used in sweat lodge rituals. The gray form is meant to appear as if it had emerged from the earth and has always been in its location.

Oneida Maple Sugar Camp Oneida, WI

“tsi? watsikhe? tu-nihe,” or “The Place Where They Make Maple Sugar,” is an 800-square-foot project designed for the Oneida Tribal School in Oneida, Wisconsin. Along with providing the infrastructure to boil maple sap down to syrup, the building is an observational device. The ventilation cone provides a view of the “seven dancers”—the Pleiades—when the constellation is directly overhead during the Midwinter Ceremony.

Moon Domicile Conceptual

The Moon Domicile series is based on the moon calendar of the Oneida Nation. Each moon cycle throughout the year is associated with a specific ceremony or ritual. Each of the domiciles is formalized through these traditions, as well as the natural weather phenomena of each time of year. The narrative surrounding the Moon Domicile is ambiguous about whether each of the small projects would be created by human, animal, or other.

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Exhibit Columbus names Miller Prize winners

Exhibit Columbus has named the winners of the inaugural J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Competition. The winning proposals will be constructed as five installations spread across Columbus, Indiana, the small town two that is home to dozens of modernist masterpieces. The installations will be one of the main attractions at the 2017 iteration of Exhibit Columbus, a new yearly event which connects contemporary architecture with the city’s storied design past. A two-part architectural event, the inaugural symposium of Exhibit Columbus was held in the fall of 2016. The inaugural exhibition, which will include the installations, will open on August 26, 2017. The winners of this year’s J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Competition are: Milwaukee-based studio:indigenous’s Wiikiaami The copper-clad form takes cues from the dwellings of the Miyaamia, the indigenous people of central Indiana. It will sit near the Saarinen and Saarinen-designed First Christian Church. Boston-Based IKD’s Conversation Plinth Situated across the street from the First Christian Church, in the Plaza of the I.M. Pei-designed Cleo Rogers Memorial Library, Conversation Plinth plays off the conversation pit in the famed Eero Saarinen-designed Miller House, also located in Columbus. Los Angeles-based Oyler Wu Collaborative’s Untitled The project takes on Euclidean geometries, solid/void relationships, and tectonics to complete the implied spaces formed by the canopies of the Eero Saarinen-designed Irwin Conference Center. New Haven-based Plan B Architecture & Urbanism’s Anything can happen in the woods Built on the grounds of the Keven Roche John Dinkelloo Associates-designed Cummins Corporate Office Building, Anything can happen in the woods works with the sites existing colonnade to produce a forest of reflective columns. Tuscon and New York-based Aranda\Lasch’s Another Circle Constructed in the Michael Van Valkenburgh-designed Mill Race Park, Another Circle brings 2,800 pieces of salvaged Indiana limestone into a 3.5-acre Stonehenge-like circle. The epic piece will tie together a pedestrian trail, the nearby river, and the park’s lake. The jury for the Miller prize consisted of Sean Anderson, associate curator in the Department of Architecture and Design, Museum of Modern Art, Lise Anne Couture, co-founder and principal, Asymptote Architecture, Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Dung Ngo, publisher, August Editions. The installations will be joined by 10 other installations by international designers and Midwest architecture and design students. Along Washington Street, in Columbus’s Downtown, five international galleries have each chosen one of the design practices they represent to participate in the event. Those galleries and designers include; London’s Dzek gallery, with designers Studio Formafantasma, Copenhagen’s Etage Projects, with designers Pettersen & Hein, Brussels’s Maniera gallery, with designers Productora, New York's Patrick Parrish Gallery with designer Cody Hoyt, and Chicago’s Volume Gallery with designers Snarkitecture. The university participants will build installations on the grounds of the Ralph Johnson-designed Central Middle School and the Gunner Birkerts-designed Lincoln Elementary School. The universities involved will be Ball State University College of Architecture and Planning, The Ohio State University Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture, University of Cincinnati School of Architecture and Interior Design University of Kentucky College of Design, School of Architecture, and the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Students from the Indiana University Center for Art + Design will also create an installation with the help of a designer-in-residence at the Eero Saarenin-designed North Christian Church.