Author : Charles Shelton Green

University : University of California, Berkeley

Status : MArch, 2015

Advisors : Maria Paz Gutierrez, René Davids

Title : The Siletz House

Our environment is the defining character of our self-image. A place is what can distinguish one experience from another. The key to this differentiation is [ material ]; the physical and tangible things we encounter is what can connect us with the immediate surrounding  [ context ]. The lacking of a sense of place and absence of local material leads to a weak sense of identity and skeuomorphic relationships.

Growing up in the house of a craftsmen, we made things with our hands. These things became part of our everyday lives. The understanding of the strong relationship between tools and material allowed for the failure of many things, but led to the improvement of skill and understanding of  [ limitations ] of both the tool and material. This thesis explores varying methods of wood carpentry as a [ catalyst ] to ignite new and traditional modes of inhabitation for the Native American people of the Siletz Indians.

Influenced by a constant experience of the South Western Landscapes of the United States, whether it be on boats in the Atlantic Ocean, Wetlands or Forest. At an early age I began to understand the vastness of [ landscape ] and how the occupation of these place were different to that of other occupations. In my latter years and more recently, I have encountered a different type of vastness within the context of growing metropolitan areas where [ space ] is tight and the vastness is made from an [ accumulation ] of built environment objects. The bridging of these vast scales to a form of occupation for an individual(s) is exciting when thinking about the potentials of architecture and for that reason I have chosen to explore this bridge by designing a house. The [ house ] is the most primitive of occupations and can be a test bed for relationships closest to the individual.

This thesis is an architectural [ narrative ] of material, craft, and culture within the context of Siletz, Oregon. The site was chosen as it is one I hold close, this is the home of my family, my origins, my tribe The Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians. As Siletz is in the Pacific Northwest many traditional ways of building, crafting and making are linked to the material culture of wood. This thesis uses a familiar material to the Tribal people in the construction the house. Various studies of traditional, contemporary and hybrid fabrication methods led to the conception of The Siletz House. The proposal seeks to create a well-crafted inexpensive housing option for all Siletz Tribal members.


S//A : What’s the most important aspect of this project that we should be aware of?
Charles Shelton Green_ The Siletz House was designed to ignite new and traditional modes of inhabitation for the Tribal people with hopes of sparking a modern day culture of making that is inspired from traditional Native American techniques and can aid in an economic growth. A cultural revival has already begun for my people and I want this to continue in the act of living itself. The Siletz people have endured many conflicts over the years but have a bright future forthcoming, I hope this Siletz House proposal serves the Tribal people well.

S//A : What other fields outside of architecture interest you?
CG_ Landscape and City Photography, I love documenting the world and the people that occupy it.

S//A : Most important thing you learned in architecture school?
CG_ Do not compare yourself to others, just work hard and constantly push your ideas, craft, and skills further.

S//A : Describe your dream project
CG_ To build my Thesis project and make it a reality would be my dream project as it could help people who are in need of housing in addition to push Architecture further in how it is constructed and crafted.