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This Striking Desert Home Was Whipped Up By Grad Students

The Colorado Building Workshop at the University of Colorado Denver has a number of cool programs that give architecture grad students hands-on experience seeing a project through to completion. One of them, called DesignBuildBLUFF, has students designing and building homes for Navajo families in the town of Bluff, Utah, with a stated focus on "sustainability and respect to the unique social, cultural and environmental needs of the region." The Skow Residence, made for clients that had already laid the concrete foundation for a "traditional rectangular gable-trussed home," was created using "virtually all" the materials from a prefab build-kit the clients already had on site.

While repurposing the build-kit materials, the students made a point of rejecting some aspects of their original purpose, "resisting the idea of a traditional gable roof house." The emphatically turned up roof they chose instead was, in their own telling, inspired by an offhand comment from one of the clients, to the effect of "everyone should have a sombrero in the desert." Hence, "a sombrero for Skow's home."

The 800-square-foot home is separated into public and private volumes, with the former containing a kitchen and dining room that opens up to the southwest, providing a "connection to the landscape." The bedroom is wrapped in a "highly insulative straw bale construction," meant to "provide a sense of comfort surrounded" via "natural earthen plaster and security from the desert elements."

A large deck wraps around much of the home to provide for outdoor living when the weather affords it. Check it out below, and visit Architizer for more educational and eye-catching pro bono work from the Colorado Building Workshop.

· Skow Residence [Arch Daily]
· Self-Build Heroes: How One University Is Giving Grad Students the Experience They Need [Architizer]