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Richard's words

My goals are to create architecture that boasts a sensory experience of delight…for my people I will continue to investigate the wholeness of culture and how to purposeful conceive art through matter and light.  The Navajo Hogan is a model of the Navajo universe - A physical paradigm of our relationship to mother earth and father sky.  It begins here.

I enjoy the fact that my contribution to society and the environment is at a myriad of levels...You know when you first start out in the business you are immediately exposed to all areas of the profession as well as your client's vision and the world around you.  Architects and planners have a task of reshaping or shaping our built environment.  (You don't actually reshape anything).  The thing that gets `reshaped' is our patterns, our way of thinking, and our outlook to sustain ourselves.   Why is McDonalds in Window Rock a desirable place for the kids to go?  Or the Burger King in Chinle? Well it's because of the playing equipment, colors, and plenty of daylight - a paradigm for learning.  Believe me…they are `learning' when they get a bite to eat there.  
Senior Capstone 2001
Graduation Day


"Be abstract...conceptual and not too literal because you have a very beautiful culture.  With that, evoke the essence.  Be powerful."

Antoine Predock, Architect
October 13, 2000 ( I had the sincere pleasure of meeting Mr. Predock in Albuquerque)

I am  Navajo who grew up in Chinle, AZ.  Home is Chinle, Tselani-Cottonwood, and Window Rock.  My current residence is Scottsdale, AZ.   I have acquired a great job with one of the largest architecture and engineering firms in the U.S.  Even though my higher academic setting is on a pause, I believe  education lies within many layers.  

Why I want to be an architect has been a question I have yet to answer.  Probably because of the Navajo Nation's lack of aesthetically pleasing buildings and/or houses but I cannot be judgemental towards my own people  because I know how our world is.   I've lived it for 21 years.   ( I know  the economy has played a major role),   Money may be a motivator but  perhaps I want to leave something behind that clearly announces the understanding of culturally motivated art.  

My journey may have begun a few years back when I took an immense task of building a house in its entirety.  With no knowledge of construction experience, my immediate grasp of the methods seem to fall in place as though I was destined to be a carpenter or mason.  If that were the case, I would not have changed the floor plan much but I did, consequently heightening the budget.  However, even though the experience was tedious, it gave an insight to what my future profession may be - architecture

The University of Arizona's School of Architecture is a difficult program…however the benefits are unimaginable.  The skills acquired and the experience that is endured by a student will entice any employer on selecting him or her as an asset.  One day this academic basis will be a genuine foundation towards the profession.  As a Navajo, I wish to have my own firm in which culturally significant designs may be a renowned theme that is truly unique to the built environment.

One of my goals is to try to define Navajo architecture in the 21st century.  Primitive Navajo dwellings are what constitutes Navajo architecture because of the non-influential ideas during the late 18th and 19th centuries.  I want to attest my integrity in finding this comtemporary character.   Being Navajo is truly unique but finding a way to translates Navajo theory and ideology into physical form is a true test to my ingenuity.

My aspirations on reaching my goals are not distant anymore, but in fact, attainable.  This is my personal view on how one begins to set goals for him or herself.  The only key-element in the process of life is to educate and expand your mind to the manmade and natural world around you.  This statement coincides with the design process in the studios at the School of Architecture.  When a project is in initial phase, program development of the project is the key followed by a process of concepts and ideas.  At this stage, the project is being developed from a personal view because that's where ingenuity and education binds.  The sharing of your ideas is a final expression of the project.  This hybrid is a fusion of your journey - education.

Architecture is about experience just as much as you detail it...

coming soon...providing professional architectural design services to Native America

richard k. begay jr. 2000,2004