© 2015 by Christopher J. Ball. All rights reserved

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Native American Sustainable Housing Initiative (NASHI)

Throughout the state of South Dakota there is a growing need for sustainable and affordable housing on native reservations. Amongst these reservations lies the Pine Ridge community. This tribal nation has the direst need for adequate housing to facilitate for the growing Oglala Lakota College. The overall design objective of The Native American Housing Initiative (NASHI) is to provide a future case study for design of sustainable, affordable, culturally inclusive, and regionally appropriate housing.


Each of the four residences is entirely Net-Zero and energy proficient. Each residence is built with walls constructed of straw bales and compressed earth. Using passive and active forms of producing and conserving energy, this prototype will provide the native nations with a self-sufficient home that will correspond with 

the nations need to generate self sufficient government.  


Furthermore, this project includes all architectural practices and documents 

necessary for a full construction of each home. In fact, the first of four houses was 

completed in the fall of 2012. In 

collaboration with the Ogalala Lakota 

College and the University of Colorado, thisdesign/build project encompasses the 

beauty within sustainable and humanitarian architecture.

This rendering illustrates how the design fits within the context of the Pine Ridge tribal nation. NASHI aimed to design a home that integrates the beautiful culture and climate of Pine Ridge, South Dakota. 

Pine Ridge is a very dynamic location with drastic swings in temperature and sometimes quite harsh climate conditions. The NASHI design includes the placement of the first 4 prototype homes in this Site Plan. Each house is carefully positioned to have adequate solar exposure and appropriate exposure to seasonal winds. 

Site Plan

The floor plan showcases the elegant program of the house. Simple in circulation and open public areas make the design of the home flexible for each inhabitant. 

Floor Plan

The Dairy Center in Boulder, CO was host to a gallery display of the NASHI design-build project. With an incredibly successful turn out on opening night, the project was able to build a hype in the media of the University of Colorado and generate income to fund the project. This gallery display included the physical models, 10 detailed boards, and a full-scale model of a straw-bale wall. 

Dairy Center Museum Exhibition

Physical models were also built to fully showcase the integral details of the design. I worked as a critical role in the construction of a complete physical model and sectional mode of the prototype home. As seen through some of these photographs, the complete model includes each individual truss system and has a removable roof to view the details of the interior design. Also, the section model has a plexi-glass illustration of the sectional construction document. This allows the viewer to fully understand how the home is build and how to read the construction document. 

Physical Building & Sectional Model

The NASHI project was a Design-Build project. This required the final design to be complete with a full set of construction documents for developers. Using AutoDesk Revit, this construction section cut was generated to scale with full details on materiality, sizing, location, building techniques, and more. 

Construction Document

When viewed as a sectional perspective, this image identifies specific details in which the residence integrates sustainable design to achieve net-zero energy consumption. Features such as active solar panels located on the roof, cross ventilations window design, geo-thermal heating and cooling, and solar oriented roof design are just a few of the details that defines this home as energy efficient. 

Sectional Perspective Rendering