Coping with Neighbors & Other Entanglements 


Students
Zhicheng Xu

Advisor 
Sheila Kennedy

Readers
Rania Ghosn
Caroline Jones

This thesis explores how two ways of "seeing"  landscape might be integrated and brought together through a set of design interventions for the Kooyooe fish and the people of the Paiute nation. Situated in the state currently called Nevada, where the Paiute people have lived for over 9,000 years, Pyramid Lake houses the Kooyooe, which are situated at the intersection of ecology and economy. This fish species' ecological footprint precedes us and is a cultural symbol in Paiute society. The damming of the Truckee River in 1905 and the ensuing history of water rights struggles have endangered the Kooyooe fish. Furthermore, the struggles of the Kooyooe fish represent the violence of colonialism on nature and the inequitable distribution of its resources.

High-level GIS mapping and ground-level Traditional Ecological Knowledge (or TEK) both have respective merits and flaws. The former presents a systematic worldview with inadequate local sensitivity, while the latter resolves local challenges but is often unable to scale up. By combining the two, this thesis uses GIS mapping strategies to trace the flow of water and the Kooyooe's annual migration. Furthermore, this thesis seeks to support the fish and its people by designing a series of outposts and a hatchery near Pyramid Lake constructed of local materials following the TEK in the tradition of Paiute craft. Learning from the TEK embedded in Paiute practice transforms the modern understanding of architecture and may enable architectural practices to produce historical and environmental knowledge about the Truckee River and its ecological impacts on native lands.