Taos Pueblo Senior Center - A Collaborative Effort

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Elizabeth Suina was asked to teach her second 400-level architecture studio course that would collaborate with a graduate level Community and Regional Planning (CRP) course during the 2018 Spring semester at the University of New Mexico. This studio revolved around planning and design for a new Assisted Care Facility at Taos Pueblo. The Indigenous Design and Planning Institute (IDPI) was instrumental in coordinating between the studios and Taos Pueblo.


Both courses began the semester long project by compiling research on all aspects of the proposed project. Topics such as community demographics, assisted living facility typologies, and cultural information were heavily researched and presented in the beginning of the report.

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Once students were familiar with the issues related to assisted living centers, site visits to other facilities were arranged to allow the class to understand the real world implications of design. Conversation with residents, visitors, and staff at these facilities brought up many issues that may have otherwise been missed. 


Most importantly, students took part in planning meetings with Taos Pueblo Elders, government staff, and residents to gain site specific information. The report compiles all the gained information and presents a variety of design options that the Pueblo can consider. Rather than providing a single design, the class thought it would be more useful as a planning tool to allow the Pueblo to choose between a set of options.

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Special thanks to the Indigenous Design and Planning Institute (IDPI) for all their help, to the Isleta Senior Center, the Laguna Rainbow Elderly Care Center, and Morning Star Assisted Living & Memory Care of Albuquerque for allowing us to visit their facilities and talk to the members of the communities they work to create. Lastly, we would like to thank all those involved from the Pueblo of Taos, it was an honor to be allowed to work with you. 

brandon ortiz