Indigenous Principles for an Architecture of Uncertainty

This past fall ISAPD member, Anjelica S. Gallegos, participated in the Advanced Design Studio titled ‘Productive Uncertainty: Indeterminacy, Impermanence, and the Architectural Imagination’ taught by Marc Tsurumaki and Violette de la Selle. Gallegos worked to design the Four Waters Formative, a Living Laboratory for Indigenous Ecological Knowledge. 

Located in Staten Island New York, Four Waters Formative integrates adaptive design, land remediation and historical preservation. The program centers around the Stronghold as a gathering place while the path system weaves together interventions including gazing pods, artificial reefs, pollinator batteries, earth work, Shatemuc Pavilion,the  Deer House, the Longhouse, Falcon Bridge and the American Indian Monument; a data collector and visual indicator of live environmental information. 

Fort Wadsworth was going to be the site for a National American Indian Memorial which was to be taller than the Statue of Liberty at 580-feet. The statue was designed by Daniel Chester who is known for the statue of Abraham Lincoln (1920) in the D.C. Lincoln Memorial. The statue would have been of an American Indian man atop a foundation building housing a museum of native cultures. 

There was a groundbreaking ceremony in 1913 where President William Howard Taft, indigenous leaders, government figures and New York elite attended. 

The memorial was Rodman Wanamaker’s idea after an expedition he did visiting tribes across the U.S. collecting information and images of native cultures. He lobbied for American Indians to be granted citizenship which eventually happened in (1924).  

Thomas Hastings was the architect on the project. His firm designed several buildings for Yale. 

Henry Roe Cloud served as a liaison between tribal leaders and collaborators. He was the first American Indian to attend Yale, graduating with a (B.A.) in psychology and philosophy and (M.A.) degree in anthropology (1914). He worked to transform American Indian higher education and government policies throughout his life. 

Gallegos responded to the historical and existing conditions through strategies that encourage a reciprocal relationship and start at different time periods. 

Instead of a memorial to celebrate the memory of indigenous peoples Gallegos designed a monument to celebrate our resiliency.  

To highlight the indigenous ecological relationship, the Monument serves as a physical gauge, data collector and visual indicator of live environmental information. The Monument measures the water level and contaminant types in the Hudson River and air pollutants of the Staten Island area. The Monument disperses the live data to the network of gazing pods along the path.







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *