It is clear that Seattle’s built environment is alien to its cultural roots, says Jenny Nguyen '20 B.Arch. Modern development in the Puget Sound area can be equated to a physical estrangement that withers a meaningful connection between the city’s residents and their home’s cultural histories. The proposed architectural investigation demonstrates a belief in rooting people in the spirit of the place. This implies not erasing nor replacing an area’s historic identity, but rather carefully and meticulously weaving it into the present context— making architecture an evolving record of history that heightens the human sense of locality and authenticity.
The Duwamish People's Memorial and Gallery adapts cultural practices as well as architectural themes, patterns and materials of the Duwamish Tribe— a community of indigenous peoples who have stewarded the site for thousands of years but were quickly displaced following European settlement. More specifically, it engages a cultural history and narrative that teaches as well as fosters a more informed understanding of the history of Duwamish Seattle. Each built program is tied to a distinct tradition, aiming to preserve as well as pay homage to the displaced cultural history through education and reflection. The physical manifestation of this tectonic search is informed by vernacular building traditions—inviting modern Seattle back to its rich culture and into a site along its historic waterways where they can engage in moments of observation, reflection and meditation drawing closer to the identity of Seattle.
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All images are by Jenny Nguyen and may not be used or reproduced without express written permission of their creator.