“It is incredibly rewarding to develop a project guided by the voices of the community. It requires that you look at solutions from a holistic point of view. We feel as though we have planted seeds in fertile soil and now must carefully nurture them.”
By the year 2000, Jamie Blosser had left the University of Pennsylvania with a Master of Architecture headed for New Mexico. She first lived in Zuni Pueblo and then found a promising position with a Santa Fe firm. Her experience at Zuni helped her discover that she wanted to help preserve the unique culture and environment of her adopted state.
Her answer came in the Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority and a Rose Fellowship. As Jamie tells it, “The community was faced with basic development obstacles, such as the lack of a long-term vision for growth and fire protection, and inadequate sewage treatment. My role quickly became that of grant writer, planner, project manager and what I refer to as design ‘bulldog,’ which is often what it feels like to keep good design in a project.”
Extensive work with the Tribal Council led to the development of long-term plans. In addition, assistance by Enterprise’s Native American Program helped the team obtain more than $5 million in financing and grants. The result was Tsigo Bugeh Village, a 40-unit, award-winning low-income housing, tax-credit project and a key component of the Pueblo’s Master Plan. The San Juan Master Plan won the 2004 Smart Growth Award for Small Communities.
Today, Jamie continues to work with Ohkay Owingeh as associate and director of the Santa Fe office of Atkin Olshin Schade Architects, a firm specializing in historic preservation and cultural institutions.