Thompson + Pollari

Navajo Preparatory School Phase I Dormitories
Farmington, New Mexico

The culturally-inspired dorm buildings provide critical precedent for passively heated and cooled institutional structures in the southwest. Relying on trombe walls, direct solar gain and high mass strategies for heating, these buildings operate passively at 75% efficiency. Cooling is afforded through induced ventilation via two high atria, each outfitted with large exhaust hatches and industrial fans. Wing walls on the south facade amplify prevailing winds to supplement the atrium chimney-effect.  

The living room plan, derived from the traditional Navajo Hogan form, evokes community and enhances socialization with its two-story volume, exposed wood truss structure and perimeter banco seating. Design of the custom carpet pattern was elicited through a student design competition. Exterior building materials and forms tie the new buildings back to the historic structures on this circa 1912 boarding school campus.


May – 2003

Key Design Concepts

  • Eclectic design – modern yet traditional
  • Hogan inspired living room form and East entry
  • Passive ventilation and heating
  • Hybrid structural concept – load bearing CMU on south, super insulated metal stud with steel frame on north/east/west
  • Use of historic campus materials – cedar shakes and brick to match historic brick made on site


  • Design Share Award  -  2002
  • Arizona AIA Energy Award  - 2004
  • Ecostructure publication – September 2007