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An Investigation Into Culturally Appropriate Housing Designs at The UBC Farm

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Michael Peters

on 29 October 2013

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Transcript of An Investigation Into Culturally Appropriate Housing Designs at The UBC Farm

- Pine or Red Cedar Trees
- 12~15 deer, buffalo, antelope or moose hides
- Sinew
- Rocks/Stakes
Michael Peters
Tim Shi
Christine Yi

An Investigation Into
Culturally Appropriate Building
Designs For The UBC Farm

- Overview
Triple Bottom Line Assessment For Three Housing Designs
Tipi and Grass House For Background
- Residential Schools
Cultural Displacement (Elias, 1995)
Ongoing Effects of Residential Schools (Tait, 2003)
- Need For Cultural Appropriateness
UBC as a Community Leader
Re-Acquaintance With Culture
- Construction Considerations
Culturally Appropriate, Energy efficient, Eco-friendly, Cost efficient, Safe
Grass House
- Grass House and Tipi provided excellent cultural background

- Plank House: Culturally appropriate but most expensive

- Pit-House: Less culturally appropriate than Plank House, but less expensive and more energy efficient

- Wigwam: Not culturally appropriate, but very durable and inexpensive
- Characteristic building of
the Northwest Coast Aboriginal culture.
- Use Plank House design for first building constructed
Recommended by Elder Larry Grant

- Construct the Plank House with future symbiotic relationship with other buildings in mind

- Construct Pit-House after if further buildings are being considered
Air Circulation
Pit House
The Quiggly Hole, most commonly known as ‘Pit-House’

Why Pit house?
- Used, and built, by the Aboriginal Bands of BC.
- Seemed to be structurally stable, well insulated which could be beneficial during long winter months.

- A circular, dugout dwelling with a domed roof built by the Coast Salish people
- Walls and frames sealed and insulated by a mixture of bark, dirt, grasses and the earth from the original pit.
-Made by North East Coast Algonquian Indians
- Western Red Cedar is one
of the most sustainable
building material  

- Locally available in BC

- Durable, low maintenance
- Removable roof section for fire pit
Plank House
Why Pit House?
- Originally built by the Salish-speaking tribes, such as the Thompson, Shuswap, and Lillooet (Nabokov,1989), lived in the interior region in BC rather than coastal regions
- Represent different bands from many regions in BC

- Deforestation rate of Canada is only 0.02% annually (Carlwood Lumber Ltd. 2012).
- Saves energy
- Excavated earth does not need to be processed, transformed, or delivered for the construction of the house (assuming local Red Cedar is used).
- Wood is a sustainable material
Plank House Structure
Overview Of Learning Process,
Ethics and Culture
- UBC Farm meeting with Véronik Campbell
- Museum of Anthropology (MOA)
- MOA Library
- Xwi7xwa Library
- UBC Farm meeting with Hannah Lewis
- First Nations Studies Program, and Elder Larry Grant (personal communication, Nov 6, 2012), (Please see appendix A for the full interview notes)
- Jason Burtwhistle (personal communication, Nov 12, 2012), (Please see appendix A for the full interview notes)
- Lessons Learned
- Made from red cedar
planks, the symbol of
Northwest Coast
sustainable material
- Expensive
yet low
maintenance costs
Material Characteristics
- strong, lightweight, and straight-grained

- natural resistance to
moisture, decay,
and insect damage
- Cedar roof planks were overlapped and placed on top of the rows of rafters
- Watertight: roof planks were often gouged out on one face to both overlap, and interlock
Modern Wigwam
- Use plywood and tar paper for cover material
Cost Summary
-Oak or Willow
were used for poles

-Cover materials varied with the culture and local availability
The following tables show
material costs only
-Wigwam refers to a one or two family house of round or oblong floor plan
- Simple structure yet
durable for long term
- Low construction cost and low maintenance cost solution

Total material cost is as
low as $1500 for 16' by 12 '
- A dome shaped structure with frame of poles, bent towards the middle
- Bound together at the top, enclosed with thatched grass
(Nabokov, 1989)
- Pecan, Elm or Hemlock trees, striped of their bark
- Dried pieces of swamp or buffalo grass
- Horizontal sapling stringers made out of willow
- Yard-long cottonwood needles
(Nabokov, 1989)
“Sometimes individuals painted their own tipis to illustrate their battle exploits, or depicted symbols related to their experiences during fast induced visions” (Nabokov, 1989).
- The floors were tamped earth
covered with sand
Taken from: American Indian
Literature and Cultures
Taken from: http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net
Taken at Indian City, Anadarko, Oklahoma
Photo taken by Tim Shi at
of Anthropology
Photo taken by Tim Shi at
of Anthropology
Photo taken from Native American Architecture
- Three or Four straight Pine or Red Cedar poles that were pointed and tied together at the top and resembled a tilted cone
- Exist in all Aboriginal bands in BC
- Plank house is long house, just better
L. Grant, (personal communication, Nov 6, 2012)
- 100% Aboriginal designed structure
(Garrick, 1998)
Picture taken from http://www.norfolkwoodlots.com/western-red-cedar/
Picture taken from http://www.livinghistoryed.org/webalbumNYErie/pages/Hunting%20Camp%20Wigwam%202_JPG.htm
(Nabokov,1989,p. 73)
taken from Northern Aboriginal Communities, Economies and Development (Elias, 1995)
Full transcript