By Norman Peckham

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Some UA architecture students will make their design sketches reality tomorrow as they build an entrance gateway for the Pascua Neighborhood Center.

The gateway, at 785 W. Sahuaro St., will be built as part of the national non-profit Christmas in April project, said Mary Dinsmore, spokeswoman for the University of Arizona College of Architecture.

Each year, in a one-day "blitz," the project helps low-income, disabled and elderly residents repair their homes, Dinsmore said.

This year, members of the project chose to make repairs on homes in the Old Pascua Yaqui Village, and also decided to build a gateway for the village's neighborhood center, Dinsmore said.

She said architecture students got involved in the project when the dean of the college, Robert Hershberger, decided it would be possible for students to design the gateway.

"When it came up that (the project) wanted someone to design the gateway, I said 'That sounds like something architecture students can do,'" Hershberger said.

About 120 architecture students participated in an all-day sketch project in February to design the gateway, Dinsmore said.

Seven students' designs ended up being selected by a judging committee, which included architects and Yaqui council members, Dinsmore said. She said the seven students were then organized into a team to prepare the gateway's design.

"The final design ended up as a semicircle with five columns that are around the curved side of the semicircle," she said. "At the center of the semicircle is the tree of life and a seating area around that."

Each of the columns of the gateway will represent one of the Yaqui people's "five enchanted worlds," said Rebecca Ponder, the Pascua Neighborhood Center's supervisor. Those worlds are the flower world, the wilderness world, the enchanted world, the night world, and the dream world.

The five enchanted worlds, along with the tree of life, are part of the "integral relationship" the Yaqui people have with nature and the spirit world, she said.

Because the gateway contains elements of the Yaqui people's culture, it will serve the purpose of giving an identity to the center and the neighborhood, Ponder said. After the gateway is built, members of the Yaqui tribe will paint murals and other symbols on it.

Colby Campbell, an architecture senior who helped design the gateway, said he researched the Yaqui people's culture to get ideas for the design.

"I did a lot of research to interpret the Yaqui people's beliefs" in making the design, Campbell said. "It's going to be real hard work to build the gateway, but it should be a lot of fun."

Other students who worked on the design said they also are looking forward to helping to build the gateway.

"Usually we design things in the studio, and we never get to see how they're put together," said Misti Weaver, an architecture senior. "Building the gateway will be a real educational experience."

"It's been real exciting designing the project," said Jenifer Cady, an architecture junior. "I can hardly wait to see it built and see people's reactions to it."

The other architecture students who designed the gateway and will be helping to build it are Luann Stillwell, a graduate student; Cliff Johns, a senior; John Price, a junior; and Allan Waite, a senior. Read Next Article