Learning From the Ancients

Photo by Dr. Tyler Nordgren.2007
Photo by Dr. Tyler Nordgren.2007

The patterns and forms of Chaco Canyon in New Mexico leave an inspiring imprint. Some lessons I’d like to learn from Puebloan culture relative to sustainable design:

1. Live with acute awareness of the land. Water connects us to life. The tracings can be read through the vegetation and wildlife as functional and poetic.

2. Be aware of our position in the larger setting. Chaco is aligned with the stars, and patterns of the sun and moon. There is mystery, but also direct connection to the seasons and earth rhythms effecting survival.

3. Community:  Their shared space reveals a social structure connecting families to community and interesting arrangements of privacy versus interaction.

4: Materials: Even to my untrained eye, the benefits of utilizing thermal mass and the beauty of hand built masonry are inspiring.

3 Comments

  1. What an amazing photo; it really captures the magic of that place. I too feel like I have lessons to learn from the ancients about how to live simply with the land and with one another.

  2. Yes, Its just a couple hours from Durango. It is still fairly remote. The scale of these ruins is large. I really want to visit some current living pueblos in the area. Some of them have been occupied continuously. There’s so much to learn from how these people lived more closely tied to the land.

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