Original Architech emerges from his burrow - Liberty

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Original Architech emerges from his burrow

Architect Chris Cornelius

Designed by Chris Cornelius in the Milwaukee suburb of Franklin

Architect Chris Cornelius
The Chris Cornelius-designed Indian Community School opened in the Milwaukee suburb of Franklin, Wisconsin in 2007 and has been a hit with students and parents ever since. Timothy Hursley

FEFUM — Chris Cornelius grew up in federal public housing on the Indian Reservation of Oneida, five miles west of the Bay in Greene, Wisconsin, and had no vision of his future as an architect. He was surrounded by poverty. The only hot meal he received was a free lunch at an unreserved school. Still, sleeping by the wood stove in the living room of his family's ranch home proved to be a formative experience.

Starting in September 2021, he will serve as chair of the University of New Mexico's Department of Architecture and Planning and runs his studio, His Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous is a design firm he founded that focuses on architecture and indigenous cultures.

The son of a brick mason, Mr. Cornelius excelled at drafting and architectural drafting, but his counselor (fellow Oneida) directed him to a federal grant program for natives to attend college. , There was no guidance. , higher education was not his plan. He majored in architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he connected with Indigenous students and began thinking about what Indigenous architecture was.


Mr. Cornelius at Albuquerque's University of New Mexico

Architect Chris Cornelius
Cornelius at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Adria Malcolm

He began designing small projects for Oneida, taught at the University of Milwaukee, and did the speculative design. After attending graduate school at the University of Virginia, he moved in 2003 to the Indian community of Franklin, a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He worked with architect Antoine, who had just won the school's design competition. under. he was invited

Predock and Cornelius proposed a sustainable, integrated building that embodies Oneida's tradition of caring for the planet.

Surrounded by old trees, the hillside school is made of timber, copper, and local limestone. The indoors and outdoors are connected by large windows and expansive outdoor learning areas, including ponds, wetlands, and field labs


The exterior of the Indian Community School

Architect Chris Cornelius
The exterior of an Indian Community School in Franklin, Wisconsin. Timothy Hursley

In a two-story building, younger students live on the lower floor, in classrooms named after plants and other earthly objects, while older students live on the upper floor, whose rooms are associated with birds and the sky. I live on the floor. I live on the floor I Live on the Floor The entire Indian Country, all land under tribal jurisdiction, is represented in the school's central communal gathering area, shaped like an abstract map of the United States. Plantings represent different landscapes, and custom wooden seats represent the plains and plateaus of the territory.

Completed in 2007, the Indian Community School is a hit with students, teachers, and parents, but more storage would be ideal to allow for a larger gymnasium, Flores said. Others, who favored simpler, recognizable patterns and bright colors, were critical of the design, stating that its architecture was not specific enough and should include motifs and shapes such as turtles and eagles.

Among the community events held on-site was the Bear Moon Pow Wow in January. Leaders at Kamehameha Schools, Hawaii's private school system, took inspiration from the use of this space to incorporate similar outdoor gathering spaces into their buildings, Flores said.

"He's a very mellow and thoughtful young man," Flores said of Cornelius.


The Wiikiaami Pavilion in Columbus

Architect Chris Cornelius
The Wiikiaami Pavilion in Columbus, Indiana was a breakthrough for Cornelius. Via Chris Cornelius

A big turning point in his independence came in 2017 in Columbus, Indiana when he received the J. Irwin and He Xenia S. Miller Award. As part of the Exhibit Columbus show, he unveiled the pavilion. This pavilion recognizes the nations of Delaware, Kickapoo, Miami, and Shawnee that inhabited the land long before it was dotted with masterpieces by architects like Eliel Saarinen. Published by Wikia. Built. (The pavilion was built on the site of Saarinen's first Christian church, built in 1942.) The structure is made of translucent steel "feathers" that cover a bent steel structure. I am here. “I wanted to recreate the process of making a wigwam, rather than making a wigwam,” said Cornelius.

The project caught the attention of Deborah Burke, Dean of the Yale School of Architecture. He later invited Cornelius to teach a class in his design studio at Yale University.

"Chris brings to his students a voice they've never heard before," Burke said. “He expands the canon of what architecture can do.


Not My HUD House

Architect Chris Cornelius
A prototype called "Not My HUD House" was exhibited at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art last year. Tom Harris

His voice has permeated the art world as well. A prototype called "Not My HUD House" was shown at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art's "Architecture at Home" exhibition in Arkansas last year. The compact unit proposes an alternative model of public housing for the new Aboriginal culture, offering features specifically lacking in Housing and Urban Development Authority structures, such as porches, fireplaces, skyscapes, and animal habitats. get.

"Reservation public housing was an instrument of colonialism and assimilation. It had nothing to do with our culture," Cornelius said. “There was a basketball court because HUD was building a basketball court for an urban housing project.”

At the University of New Mexico, Mr. Cornelius continues his legacy. The school hosts the Institute of Indigenous Design + Planning and offers a certificate in Indigenous Planning.

He leads a conversation about the lessons of Indigenous architects of the past. How he designs home environments with more communal and flexible spaces, and how he uses materials that are more suited to the local climate and culture. He said there is much to be learned from being a good neighbor to plants and animals without overdoing it.

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