Diné College Library
Shiprock, New Mexco
Diné College, located in Tsaile, Ariz., serves residents of the 26,000 square-mile Navajo Nation across Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Founded in 1968, Diné College has two main campuses and six community centers serving approximately 2,000 students.
The new Diné College Library on the Shiprock, N.M., campus respects the vital connection between the Diné and the natural world. The library honors the built form of the sacred hogan and echoes the curving representation of the Navajo world-view.
Arched forms and curved walls present a gentle and welcoming spirit. Spaces created between the large curved forms align to special landforms, sacred directions, and celestial relationships that surround and define the world of the Navajo.
A long slit cut in the east wall of the library allows the rising sun to penetrate deep into the interior twice annually, corresponding with the beginning and ending of the school year. As the rays pierce the interior, they glance along a long stone wall and enter the Storytelling Room.
The family hogan, the center of Navajo life, is placed at the very center of the library as the Storytelling Room. It features a dramatic blue translucent enclosure rising like a prayer through the roof of the library. Lights and fiber optics in the ceiling surrounding the Story Telling Room display the Big Dipper, the North Star, and other constellations important to the storytelling tradition of the Diné.