Photos courtesy of Jesse Kuroiwa

Photos courtesy of Jesse Kuroiwa


The Mexican Water Chapter of the Navajo Nation partnered with Design Build BLUFF to construct two rentable cabins to help encourage it's local economy. Influenced by the landscape and distant views of the Blue Mountains and Monument Valley, the design led to the development of two “sibling” cubes. One rests on the landscape while the other emerges from it. Each cabin establishes its own identity while simultaneously evoking the same language together. The orientations of the Sunrise and Sunset Cabins were influenced by the Navajo tradition of eastern entry. While entering the Sunset Cabin requires a journey through the patio first, the journey of the Sunrise Cabin is through the building and out toward the cantilevered patio. Both patios, located on the northern side of the cabins, provide shade in the summer and are clad in reclaimed barn wood. In order to diversify the sleeping arrangement possibilities between the two 300 square foot spaces - - the Sunrise Cabin includes a two-person sunken bed platform and the Sunset Cabin, with a bed, loft, and futon, can sleep up to six visitors. Concrete floors, sinks, and counters contrast the reclaimed barn wood on the interior walls and bedrooms while the weathered steel exterior resembles the red sand of the landscape. Apertures in both cabins frame views of the surrounding natural environment: the sand, mountains, and sky. Additionally, the carefully placed windows, skylight, and electrical lighting fill the spaces with soft light to emphasize materiality.

DesignBuildBLUFF. University of Colorado, Denver.

Instructor: Rick Sommerfeld. Structural Engineer: Andy Paddock. Project Managers: Atsushi Yamamoto & Hiroko Yamamoto.

Designers/Builders: Cam Tu Dang (Patio Lead, HVAC Sub-lead, Walls Sub-lead, Lead Concept Designer of Sunset Cabin) Becca Barenblat, Lauren Cooper, Linh Dam, Seth Donnell, Arron Elmore, Pipsa Happo, Matt Krick, Johnny Mathews, Dan Mitchell, Kathryn Mullinax, Ryan Nickolas, Zane Levin, Sam Palmer, Jason Patel, Robin Scher.


*Custom-design orders for propane fueled fire-pit & grill available.  Freelance architectural design work also available.