Naperville architect designer helps Navajo in Utah

Updated 6/2/2014 5:03 AM
  • Bruce George

    Bruce George

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTOFormer Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTOFormer Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr.

  • John Engquist, right, receives an award from APMI President Dean Howard.

    John Engquist, right, receives an award from APMI President Dean Howard. PHOTO COURTESY OF APMI INTERNATIONAL

  • David Franks

    David Franks

  • Amy Pecoraro

    Amy Pecoraro

  • Joanne McInerney

    Joanne McInerney

  • Peggy Hager

    Peggy Hager

  • Tilford Yates

    Tilford Yates

Bruce George, president of Naperville-based Charles Vincent George Architects, has been a part of many residential, commercial and other building projects nationwide.

Locally, he and his firm are known for their work on the DuPage River Sports Complex, Naperville Fire Station No. 10, the Lisle Administrative Building and Naperville South Commons, as well as the Naperville Riverwalk.

George has now taken on a project that will be challenging and spiritual at the same time. George, the son of the company's founder, is designing and building a Navajo Hogan home in Bluff, Utah.

"I grew up in Hinsdale and have always been a part of the community with Grace Episcopal Church," said George, 52. "So when the time came that the church developed a mission project and a youth program, the church approached me to help made the plans for this in Utah."

Hogans are specially designed, sacred dwellings of the Navajos and must have specific features. While they have modernized over the years, Hogans still have entry doors which must face east, so its inhabitants can greet the rising sun. It also requires a traditional octagonal shape and is dedicated to living and worship.

Such a dwelling is now underway, with George as the lead designer. The Hogan is being built for Catherine Plummer, the wife of the late Rev. Steven Plummer, the first Navajo bishop of the Episcopal Church in Bluff, Utah. Catherine Plummer is also ordained and serves in her community while living in a trailer that was recently condemned as unliveable, he said.

George, along with about 25 youth members and the pastor of Grace Episcopal Church in Hinsdale will be in Utah from June 7 through June 15 to work on the Hogan. They will be joined by George's wife, Beth George, and volunteer contractors on site, George said.

George set up meetings with the local people to learn about the needs, especially for Hogans. The overall project is expected to cost roughly $60,000 to $70,000. All the materials, time and expertise will be donated, George said.

George had to keep the design simple, especially since most of the laborers will be unskilled. So he received help from Norwood, Colo.-based E-Z Hogan, which specializes in simple Hogan construction.

The foundations have already been laid, so when George and the other volunteers arrive, they will work on framing and roof and getting the entire structure enclosed. They will return at other times to work on the interior, he said.

"It was quite a learning experience," George said.

Paulson chats with Geithner

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. of Barrington interviewed former U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner last week at the The Chicago Council on Global Affairs event in Chicago that featured Geithner's book, "Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crisis." Paulson is now chairman of The Paulson Institute, a nonpartisan institution focusing on global environmental protection and sustainable economic growth in the United States and China.

New hires to serve suburbs

Michael Guerin, Brian Zeng and Steve Gillum are new account executives who will help Oak Park-based Prairie Title Services Inc. manage its growing business around the Chicago area. Guerin and Gillum will work in Oak Park, while Zeng will be based in Oak Brook.


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