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James M. Bird, "Process House"

Master of Architecture
2021

The recent thesis project of Master of Architecture grad James M. Bird a traditional knowledge keeper from the Nehiyawak and Dene Nations, proposes a new process for and way of thinking about the design of space for Indigenous family housing.

Called “Process House,” it begins by outlining key social factors as embodied in the Dënesųłiné, Cree and Metis cultures and languages. These “cultural and language cues” then serve as entry points for examining the built form and how it can best reflect the specific norms and needs of Indigenous society. Beyond his academic work, Bird has also worked tirelessly toward reconciling Canada-First Nations relations, liaising with top government officials and disseminating Indigenous teachings.

Project Description

Designing a process: Indigenous language as an entry point into concept and design The focus of this final thesis is on the development of a process that offers a new way of thinking about the design of space for Indigenous family housing. It begins with observations of key social factors as embodied in the Dënesųłiné, Cree and Metis cultures and languages. These “cultural and language cues” then serve as entry points for examining the built form and how it can best reflect the specific cultural norms of Indigenous society.

Advisor

Mason White