The wild prairies of the great plains are an increasing rarity. Agriculture has all but eliminated the native tall grass prairie. The PrairieHouse aims to reconnect the modern inhabitants of the great plains with this raw and natural landscape.
Pioneers and settlers on the prairie were faced with adverse and varied challenges in every day life. The greatest challenge that the northern Great Plains put forth was its diverse and often brutal weather. Settlers adapted well to these conditions and thrived. While today we have no trouble overcoming adverse weather conditions, the modern approach is far different than that of the settlers. Today we act as if we have seemingly bottomless reserves of energy resources. We choose to overcome nature with mechanical equipment. The settlers on the other hand used nature to their advantage, observing cycles of weather, and caring for their natural resources in order to survive. They didn’t do this because they wanted to, the way camping or backpacking is often approached, but rather because they had to. With the current energy crisis, and the rapidly increasing levels of pollution in our world, we have reached a point where working with nature will no longer be a choice, it will be imperative. One hurdle that is difficult to overcome is the stigma often associated with sustainable living. The idea of having to give up a comfortable, modern lifestyle seems intimidating and scary for most people; overcoming this misconception is a great opportunity for the PrairieHouse.
Project received the second place prize in the 2008 NDSU/Marvin Windows Design Competition.