Scott M B Gustafson

Scott M B Gustafson

Ann Arbor, MI, US


Jumping Eagle Safe House

The Jumping Eagle Safe House exists as a sanctuary for at-risk youth on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Billy and Donna Jumping Eagle have been offering their home as a refuge for children escaping domestic abuse such as alcoholism and violence. A new building will allow the children to live in greater comfort and security in their home away from home.

The design is based around the Community Room, the heart of the house where all social activities take place. The living room, dining room and kitchen are all in one large space. This heart is flanked on either side with bedroom wings, one for girls and one for boys. Separate bedrooms for adult supervisors are also located in each wing.

The bedrooms are organized with three beds per room with a bunk bed style upper portion over a desk below. Having three children in each room ensures that the privacy and quiet required for restful sleep and focused study time is not compromised.

The horseshoe shaped building, open to the south, blocks the harsh north winds and lets the abundant daylight into the building. Sliding glass doors on both sides of the fireplace allow visual connections to nature and easy access to the exterior deck. The Exterior Deck and Courtyard are an extension of the Community Room. A fireplace provides a great location for night-time storytelling and the open courtyard will provide a luscious garden to supply fresh fruits and vegetables to the residents.

The building is designed with energy efficiency in mind. The nomadic Lakota culture developed in the outdoors where the earth served as home and classroom. The building, while being stationary and permanent, maintains a connection to the sacred landscape by embracing its lessons, moods, climates and seasons. Lakota culture valued the land and respected the resources it provided for their survival. As a nomadic society they did not have permanent architecture; however their ecological ethic inspires the design of the building. The exterior walls and roof structure utilize Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), a quick and simple wall construction system that reduces labor and maximizes thermal performance.

Operable windows and sliding doors will allow for passive ventilation during favorable weather reducing the need for air conditioning. Rainwater can be collected from the roof and stored for use in the garden. Efficient toilets and shower heads will limit water consumption and keep utility costs down.

The architectural design must support the health and welfare of the children living at the Jumping Eagle Safe House. Recognizing the stress that each child must feel being separated from their family, the design provides spaces that address a child’s needs for familial engagement and private sanctuary, all within a nurturing and supporting environment.

The images shown in this presentation are a first step at giving shape to this goal, and it is expected that changes will be made so that the constructed building fulfills the needs of each child who lives there.

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Status: Unbuilt
Location: Manderson, SD, US
My Role: Designer