Chattahoochee River Front Design: Sustaining A Lost Culture through Environmental and Social Stewardship of Native American
Date of Submission
Bachelor of Architecture
How vital is Native American culture in understanding the history and synergy between the social, natural, and built environments? The identity of indigenous people in North America has been stripped and forgotten over years. It is critical to promote rediscovering their ideologies through the establishment of a cultural center which features the architectural contributions of the Native Americans. This undergrade thesis focuses on the city of Atlanta, which has cultural remnants of the first inhabitants of this land. Still, it’s relevance in the community or architecture in Georgia is often overlooked. The Chattahoochee River is a natural tourist attraction, located in Metro Atlanta's backyard, that is an underutilized resource with exceptional cultural and ecological importance known for its historic walking paths, but do people understand the importance of the land they walk on? The Chattahoochee’s current river condition is currently overtaken by street networks and urban sprawl, taking the attention away from the river way and the people which once inhabited its surrounding territory. The banks of the river were built up with a brush, so there isn’t much to currently be seen therefore preservation of culture in our current society is most important due to the ongoing lack of a proper historical record of the indigenous people of this land. There are a number of books and precedents exploring different architectural techniques on how to approach preserving Native American culture such as, “Native American Architecture,” a book written by Peter Nabokov an architect and Robert Easton an archeologist analyzing the Native American architecture practices and bringing awareness to the United States first architects. Creek Indians lived and populated the Chattahoochee until they were removed from their land in 1834. Much like the cultural outcome of the Creek tribe in Georgia, Canada has many sites in Ontario that the neglect of the historical relevance of pre-existing Native American cultures has damaged. Moriyama & Teshima Architects have offered rehabilitation and restoration of the area with architectural methods such as paraphrasing, biophilic design, and programming that provide knowledge on the indigenous peoples lost culture. This thesis research project aims to design a Cultural Center that addresses reestablishing the significance of the once lost culture of the Creeks. The cultural center will employ architectural design to create provocative settings that will raise much needed awareness of Native Americans' identities, as well as Native indigenous construction techniques and beliefs to develop sustainable and equitable design practices while serving as a platform for cultural exchange, and social justice.