Transcript for the Piece Audio version of Earth Notes - Modern Hogans
Hogans (pr: ho-GAHNS) are a common sight on the sprawling Navajo Nation. These small, distinctive six- or eight-sided homes are redolent of long tradition.
Yet in many places on the reservation hogans and other houses are in disrepair. Crumbling foundations, broken windows, poor heating, and inadequate insulation aren?t unusual. A high poverty rate makes it difficult for residents to upgrade these structures.
Recently the Stardust Center for Affordable Homes at Arizona State University has been working to bring hogans into the twenty-first century. ASU architecture students collaborated in designing and building an energy-efficient, hogan-inspired house for an elderly couple.
The house was completed in the summer of 2005 in northwest New Mexico. Based on a hogan design, it integrates such modern features as highly insulated walls, automated ventilation windows, and radiant heat, thereby minimizing impacts on the environment while maximizing comfort and convenience.
Use of local materials, reservation-based companies, and donated labor kept costs down. The Navajo Housing Authority donated FlexCrete material for the house construction, in addition to two weeks of labor by a construction crew. The project also provided the ASU architecture students with real-world experience.
Like traditional hogans, the new house faces east toward the sunrise. In respect for Navajo tradition, when it was completed a ritual fire was lit and a ceremony conducted to bless all who will live there ? presumably for generations to come.Back