The striking Diné College Library sits at the east gateway to the campus and provides information and other services to students and the community in Shiprock, New Mexico.
In keeping with Navajo tradition, DLR Group’s design emphasizes the vital connection between mankind and the natural world and thereby supports the teaching of Diné culture.
The design for the new Library for Dine’ College, Shiprock begins with respect for the vital connection between mankind and the natural world.
The library is also designed to appeal to the entire community and so it presents itself in a memorable fashion, quietly referencing the built form of the hogan and the curving representation of the Navajo world-view.
To also respond to the desire for a building with a gentle and welcoming spirit, its arched forms and billowing walls reach out to the special landforms, sacred directions and celestial relationships that surround and define the world of the Dine’.
Special points of cultural connection are located throughout the 19,500 SF library in surprising and meaningful ways. A long slit cut in the east wall of the library will allow light from the rising sun to penetrate deeply into the interior twice each year, both times corresponding with the beginning and ending of the school year.
As the rays pierce the exterior, they reach a long stone wall, ending at the central story-telling space. Cultural relationships are described using a variety of techniques including incised narratives in floor and wall surfaces.
These points of exploration are found both inside and outside the library; one of the first to be seen is the focused view of the central hogan as you approach the courtyard. The family hogan, as central to the life of the Navajo as it is, is placed at the very center of campus. The library building is located in a way that calls attention to this fact of Dine’ tradition.
Location: Shiprock, New Mexico, USA
Architect: DLR Group
Area: 26,000 sqm
Client: Dine College
Photographs: Courtesy of DLR Group