Upper Fruitland Chapter


Fruitland, New Mexico, United States

TAWAW role

Architectural Design

architect of record

Tawaw Architecture Collective, PLLC



Community Empowerment

Upper Fruitland is located in the four corners region of New Mexico on the Navajo Nation Reservation. In co-creation with the Upper Fruitland Chapter officials and the community, the community hall design includes a main reception area and a cemetery. The design was derived from 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.


Deriving Inspiration from Culture

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


number of community engagements


Modern and Traditional Balance

One of the design challenges was the balance between modernity and tradition Navajo culture. Upper Fruitland wanted the culture represented in the design, while still maintaining 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.


Honorary Fellow

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada is proud to announce that Wanda Dalla Costa, a prominent Indigenous voice and practitioner in North American architecture, has been awarded honorary fellowship for 2022. Wanda Dalla Costa is a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation and was the first First Nation woman to become an architect in Canada. Her firm, Tawaw Architecture Collective, is based in Phoenix, Arizona. She is the director and founder of Arizona State University’s Indigenous Design Collaborative, a community-driven design and construction program that brings together tribal community members, industry and multidisciplinary teams of university students and faculty to co-design and co-develop solutions for tribal communities. Dalla Costa is a prominent Indigenous female voice within the architectural profession–specifically within the academic sphere in North America.

YBCA's 100 Honorees: Wanda Dalla Costa

Indigenous Design Collaborative's founder and design director Wanda Dalla Costa was recognized as YBCA 100 list of change makers and cultural activists working at the intersection of art, social change and civic life.

Trailblazer Award: Wanda Dalla Costa

Presented this year as part of NZ20, the world's largest net zero conference and expo, the Trailblazer Awards celebrate leaders who are building a net zero future through their work in the carbon, energy, water, waste, transit and/or policy sectors.

St. Lawrence Center Competition Award 2023


Jeff Harnar Award
Unbuilt Architecture 2021