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Lakota Shelter

Location:  Carver, MN

Size/cost:  150 sf / $250 (construction completion dependent upon materials availability and volunteer participation)

Description: The Morning Star People near Minneapolis are a motivated group of revivalists interested in preserving Lakota traditions.  Inviting all open-minded and receptive individuals, they continue their education through the teaching and practice of the Lakota language, ceremonies, and holistic belief structure.  As an active participant, I offered to design and help build a structure near their Inipi (commonly known as a sweat lodge) that will provide shelter for pre- and post- ceremonial activities, as well as house a few overnight guests.

Early Elevation Sketches

Early Elevation Sketches

The design incorporates natural materials, passive heating and cooling measures just as the traditional Lakota structures did, but will be constructed with contemporary means.  A large overhang and deck to the south provides shaded respite and a place to relax in the summer.  The exterior of the shelter will be clad with cedar shakes and adorned with items specific to the Morning Star People.  Operable windows flush the interior with fresh air and passively cool the 10′ x 14′ enclosed space and allow for multiple views of the surrounding woodland prairie context.  The interior floor and north wall are to be granite rubble stones that receive the low-angle winter sun for passive heating, as well as retain radiant heat from the wood-burning stove.  The roofing will be standing seam metal to facilitate rain water harvesting.  Stored in 55 gallon, food-grade drums, the water will be used in the Inipi ceremonies, solar bathing, the washing of hands & food, and for drinking after purification.

Early Plan Sketch

Early Plan Sketch

Materials are estimated to be 75% salvaged and donated from participants or supportive entities beyond.  Because of this organic compilation of reused products from benevolent suppliers, the end aesthetic of the lodge will tell its own story and allude to group’s unity.

Plan

Plan

Section

Section

Labor for the construction of the building is entirely volunteer-based and was assumed to be non-professional builders by trade.  As such, the sketch drawings I provided are broken-down into sequential building steps, beginning with platform block placement, to sizing and location of structural members, and through final gutter/rainwater conveyance organization.

Sequential Construction Sketches

Sequential Construction Sketches

Construction materials and labor entirely by the Morning Star people volunteers:

IMG_0822 IMG_0824

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