Whitin Giroux Works

Creativity. Innovation. Design Excellence.

formerly Whitin Design Works


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Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians
Coachella, California

The Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians is undertaking an ambitious project to educate the public about modern day Sustainability and conservation and the related history of the Cahuilla Indians in sustainable agricultural practices. The 33 acre project is an agricultural destination environment, contrasting dramatically with the surrounding suburban residential tract development. Located on the Cahuilla Reservation in Coachella, CA, the project focuses on Cahuilla cultural practices of harmony with nature, sustainability and resourcefulness. 2/3 of the project area is agricultural, including the Temalpakh (from the Earth) Farm which grows traditional Cahuilla crops, herbs and a Date Palm farm. The remaining third of the project is the Education Center which is set within and surrounded by the Farm and Date Palm Grove.

Challenged by the harsh desert climate, the project design employs sustainable practices in the choice of building materials, solar energy, building orientation and vegetation to mitigate the climate for year round use. The principles of the project embody sustainability, aesthetics, communication and sustainable economic development. The Education Center includes a landscape reconstruction of the 5 desert ecotypes of the Cahuilla’s seasonal migration as they harvested plants and animals for food, medicine and clothing. The educational program covers alternative energy, agriculture, ecological awareness, plant uses, water conservation and tribal culture. Weekly Farmer’s Market, classrooms, outdoor amphitheater, Cahuilla café, demonstration gardens. Community gardens and interpretive nature trail are purposed to educate child and adult visitors. The project design employs LEED standards.