Design Build Bluff Expands with University of Colorado

Park City, UT – DesignBuildBLUFF is kicking off a new semester with a team of student architects from the University of Colorado (CU). With CU’s participation, DesignBuildBLUFF has expanded into a year-round program, designing and building two sustainable homes per year for families on the Navajo Reservation.


Last week, the 22 CU students visited Bluff, Utah to select the family for whom they will create and construct a home. The recipients, Maxine Begay and her 10-year old son, will choose a design from the students’ proposals in July. After that, the students will divide construction responsibilities and gather the necessary materials.

DesignBuildBLUFF utilizes traditional building materials and methods while also sourcing supplies from sustainable companies such as longtime DBB benefactor 3-Form. Construction on the Begay home begins in August and is slated for completion by December.

Hank Louis, founder of DesignBuildBLUFF, says the program’s expansion won’t change its essence. “As we continue to grow, we will focus on retaining our experimental culture. DesignBuildBLUFF is a lab for alternative building methods, where we can take risks and try new things. The most important thing is that we never feel beholden to standard operating procedures.”

DesignBuildBLUFF started in 2001 as the brain child of Hank Louis, a professor in the College of Architecture + Planning at the University of Utah. DesignBuildBLUFF consists of graduate students who, each semester, chose a deserving Navajo family in need of a home. Students from University of Colorado and University of Utah are currently enrolled in the program, with several other universities expressing interest in participating in the future. Students design and build a home within 6 months for a Navajo family, utilizing green building strategies and materials. www.designbuildbluff.org.

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