A School for the Community: Baca Dlo’ay Azhi

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Community, culture and sustainability – our first project celebrating Native American Heritage Month is a true example of how design can be influenced by local culture to produce a beautiful and highly-functional facility. Baca Dlo’ay Azhi Community School in Prewitt, New Mexico was one of the first education projects designed by Dyron Murphy Architects, and it was the first LEED certified building in New Mexico.

From the overall footprint of the building to the imprinted detailing on the walls, Baca Dlo’ay Azhi demonstrates the importance of local influences on building design.

Inspiration 3 - feather

The DMA team drew inspiration from Diné culture, symbolically incorporating functions and colors associated with the Circle of Life into the project design. The main entry faces east toward Mt. Taylor, which is one of the four sacred mountains to the Diné people. Other design elements addressed the four sacred directions with the four wings of the building radiating from a central core. At the central core is the library where students and staff can gather under the light of a central skylight.

Inspiration 2 - Corn

To connect the building to the site, the spaces between building elements are landscaped with native plants, creating an interplay between the man-made and natural worlds. Corn motifs are imprinted on exterior walls, noting another significant element in Diné culture.

Baca Dlo’ay Azhi Community School received a White House Closing the Circle Award Honorable Mention, Sustainable/Green Buildings Category, in 2005. The school also received the Department of the Interior Energy Award in 2004.

Learn more about our Native and Education projects on our website.


November is Native American Heritage Month


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As a Native American-owned firm, Dyron Murphy Architects spends each day celebrating the unique and vibrant cultures of Native people across the country through our architecture. We are honored to collaborate with Native communities to understand their history and culture, and use … Continue reading

Designing Facilities for Rural Communities

Since many of DMA’s clients are in rural communities, many of the projects we’re involved with require designing facilities that will serve a crucial need within those communities. Over the last several months, we’ve celebrated the grand openings and ground breaking of a number of such facilities. Take a look:


Nahata ‘Dziil Health Center

Recently featured in the Navajo Times, the community of Nahata ’Dziil, Arizona in the Navajo Nation celebrated the grand opening of the Nahata ’Dziil Health Center on May 15, 2015. This facility replaces a smaller, older one, and is capable of providing state-of-the-art healthcare services to a growing population. We’re proud to have designed a facility that will provide much-needed medical services to the community and outlying areas.

Shiprock Youth Center Ribbon Cutting

Shiprock Youth Center

Local children and community leaders prepare to cut the ribbon at the grand opening ceremony for Shiprock Youth Center in Shiprock, New Mexico, in the Navajo Nation on March 24, 2015. This 22,000-square foot facility provides a safe place for Navajo youth to play sports, access technology, learn, play games and hone their artistic skills. Former Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony and provided the keynote address.

Tohajiilee EMS Building

To’hajiilee EMS Facility

On June 4, 2015, the community of To’hajiilee, New Mexico celebrated the ground breaking of the new Emergency Medical Services (EMS) facility. The building will serve both the public and staff with comfortable multipurpose spaces such as a conference room, living quarters, fitness room and two large apparatus bays that can house Type II ambulances.