U students design, build homes for Navajo families

Posted at 8:56 PM, Feb 19, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-20 00:31:05-05

Local architectural students are leaving the classroom to build homes for deserving Navajo families in an unconventional way.

The Design-Build-Bluff project at the University of Utah, started nine years ago by Hank Louis, takes students to a remote location near the Four Corners area in southeastern Utah.

"Being out on the Navajo reservation was pretty eye opening to me," said Jeremy Larsen, a grad student. "It's a great opportunity to explore, be creative and think outside the box."

Students design and build the homes made out of reclaimed, recycled and found materials. They have to think unconventionally and make the most of their resources.

"Bluff is the opportunity to see one of your projects from conception to completion. I think that's something that a lot of architecture students never get to do," said Katie David, a grad student. "We work as a team to try and come up with the most economical solutions to materials and the best way to design something so it doesn't require as much resources."

Students say their efforts seem to be making a big difference in boosting the morale amongst the locals.