DesignBuildBluff: Sustainable Student Work

designbuildBLUFF windcatcher house photo

Images credit designbuiltBLUFF

I was happy to see DesignBuildBLUFF get exposure in Inhabitat and Archdaily recently; TreeHugger gave them a Best of Green Award this year for Best Student Work, and they won the People's Choice Award too. Inhabitat has a great slideshow of the 2009 model, the Whitehorse; The latest completed unit, the Windcatcher, is shown above.

designbuildBLUFF windcatcher house photo

DesignBluff writes:

The Begay home is our first project since opening the door to more universities. The students of architecture of the University of Colorado Denver designed a home that responds to a sustainable ethos by using local clay and soils for rammed earth walls and compressed brick for a wind catching chimney which cools the temperature inside during the high summer temperatures.

designbuildBLUFF windcatcher house photo

Rammed earth is such a logical (and traditional) material in this climate, having the thermal mass to even out temperatures between the hot days and cool nights. It also doesn't get any more local.

trombe wall

Over the years, DesignbuildBLUFF has experimented with other techniques of developing a thermal mass; I liked this Trombe Wall they built in the Dora and Baxter Benally home .

designbuildBLUFF windcatcher house photo

In our citation for the Best of Green Award, I wrote:

Architecture training is often academic, with little hands-on experience at actually building things. Dan Rockhill and Studio 804 proved that it could be different.

But DesignbuildBLUFF adds a strong social conscience into the mix, where first-year students build sustainable homes for Navajo families in the Utah desert.

"Calloused hands, engaged minds, and open hearts align with resourcefulness and ingenuity to create a home for some of the last people to expect it."

That is truly Best of Green. More at DesignBuildBLUFF

More on DesignBuildBluff in TreeHugger:
DIY Trombe Wall Made From River Rock and Wire

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