Community members offer input in Governor’s Sustainable Housing Plan
November 16, 2018
Gila River Indian News
Part of Governor’s Sustainable Housing Plan is to revitalize traditional home building in an environmentally conscious way.
With the assistance of Arizona State University, a group of Community members and students from the Master’s of Business Administration program at the W.P. Carey School of Business hosted a design session on the Gila River Indian Community Culturally Responsive Affordable Sustainable Housing Project presentation on Oct. 30.
The goal of the session was to narrow down the home designs for the Community that make use of traditional earthen materials like adobe brick, while incorporating contemporary materials to reduce energy usage.
Wanda Dalla Costa ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and the School of Construction professor, led the session, which was incorporated into a classroom of MBA students, who lent their knowledge of design and budgeting to each of the projects presented.
The groups discussed how certain amenities can be incorporated into the design that is culturally sensitive and energy smart.
Dalla Costa previously met with Community members to discuss the project, which has gone through several iterations, leading up to the recent design session.
One of the participants of the project, Cecilia Eddie, said her input focused on the cultural elements and energy savings and how those two areas can benefit the home design.
“It’s opened up my eyes to the building aspect of it, I’ve known a lot, but not this in-depth with the material costs and the types you can use and how to reduce energy use, that’s what caught my interest,” said Eddie.
She said the interesting and unique part of the project was how ASU design students incorporated elements of culture and energy savings into each of the home designs.
Eddie said that her focus was on larger gathering rooms for Community members, because that is an essential part of how the people socialize in their homes around various activities.
“It has been a very exciting time working with the design students, learning about architecture, some of the designs are ahead of anything that is seen here in Gila River,” said Eddie, “But most all, I would like to participate in future design sessions that will eventually lead to the final design plans.”
Community members voted on each of the design elements and which ones are cultural responsive, while being energy efficient ant.
Dalla Costa asked the group, what is it that we’ve missed, what is it that we can improve upon and what is really important.
Dalla Costa asked the Community members, who were in attendance at a meeting on Sept. 11 to work with the same group of students for 45 minutes to talk about their interpretation of what was presented and what changes could be made to the home design.
“After this, we are going to get into the costing and the value engineering, that will involve scaling down to change the materials, to alter the plans, so they are affordable.”
The homes ranged in several designs that keep sustainable energy in mind, while utilizing traditional structures and materials. At the center, was a place to gather and place to cook outside, like a vatho, which is used to cook chumath.
Several of the Community members used the stickers to vote on the home designs they thought meant the most to them in terms of affordability, environmental
“We want to make sure we are heading towards one option and we are pulling from other options to drive with,” said Dalla Costa.
Each team listed the strengths, weaknesses and design action items.