Upper Fruitland Community Center

Upper Fruitland Community Center


Upper Fruitland is located in the four corners region of New Mexico on the Navajo Nation Reservation. The project was to assist Upper Fruitland Chapter to co-create a design of a cemetery guided by Chapter Officials and the community. The design was derived from respectively incorporating traditional culture and the surrounding landscape. The cemetery is to span across 40.6 acres to accommodate approximately 9,000 burial plots, reception building, and maintenance building.

Traditional Navajo Hogan

The design inspiration is taken from the Navajo Hogan. The ASU design team has done multiple studies of the tectonics of the Hogan, materiality, and the cultural representation of directionality.

Deriving Inspiration from Surrounding Landscape

Upper Fruitland is surrounded by vegetation, with the steep slopes of sharp-crested ridges providing inspiration for the reception building.


Public space

Stage of Completion

Schematic Design (2018-2019)


Upper Fruitland, New Mexico


10,970 sq.ft. 1,020 m2


Upper Fruitland Chapter

IDC (Indigenous Design Collaborative) Design Leads

Wanda Dalla Costa, Claudio Vekstein

IDC Design Team

Tierra Miller, Rhonda Harvey, Dolores Cremonini

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Balance between Modern and Traditional Culture

One of the design challenges was the balance between modernity and tradition Navajo culture. Upper Fruitland wanted the culture represented in the design but still maintain a modern appearance. There have been many iterations of the interpretation of the Hogan, the ASU team aimed to honor the original shape, repeated as a cluster of forms.