Our firm is working with Ohkay Owingeh on the design of a Heritage Center and Museum. The building will serve as an educational center for both residents and visitors and will also house materials and items critical to the preservation and continuation of Okay Owingeh culture and language. Primary project goals include providing a deeper understanding of the Ohkay Owingeh history and the encouragement of an experimental form of learning.
The site for the new facility is at the confluence of the Rio Grande and Chama Rivers, with views of its bosque of towering Cottonwoods and farmlands. The site, and its ancient settlements of San Gabriel de Yungue and Ohkay, have particular importance to the project, as both have provided shelter for many different peoples for hundreds of years.
The building design visually connects its occupants to the breathtaking landscape and incorporates traditional and sacred Ohkay Owingeh concepts of shelter, including orientation, entry, and relationships to earth and sky. The building is oriented around a central exhibit space, which is defined by high clerestories that provide indirect light and a visual connection to the sky and earth. The roof is designed as a landscape element, and can be accessed via a gradual ramp from the parking area. The walking surface of the roof includes a map depicting the ancestral Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo lands and clear orientation to the sacred mountains and cardinal directions. The building also includes storage and viewing areas accessible only to tribal members. These storage areas will house archival records and cultural and sacred objects.