DesignBuildBLUFF Annual Report 2016-17

Page 1


04 Letter from the Director 06

32 Impact and Recognition 34 Financial Overview

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The Making of a Campus

36 Our Team 37 Our Supporters


Dear Friends, In a recent reflection, one of our students Lauren Henrie wrote, “DesignBuildBLUFF has given me a deep appreciation of truly striving to get to know our clients, to design WITH them instead of FOR them. The more I try to remove myself and the natural bias that comes with having grown up in my specific circumstances with the privileges I claim, the more I realize how little I know personally and how truly dependent we are on the knowledge of the community.” Lauren’s words summarize well the learning experience that our program tries to foster at DesignBuildBLUFF, or as I like to say: “Building Capacity with Head, Hands, and Heart”. It is why most of our students will tell you that their time here is the most transformative of their entire academic career, maybe L E TTER FROM THE D I RECTOR

their entire life. As I write this, it has been just over three years since the transition from an independent non-profit to an official program of the University of Utah and the College of Architecture and Planning. This coincided with the start of my directorship, as I took the reins of an already established and





previous twelve-plus years, it had been guided by the astute leadership of founder Hank Louis. With that legacy and your continued support, our team has made unbelievable strides improving the running of our operations, building capacity in partnership with the rural and Native communities of the Utah Four Corners, and continuing to offer students oncein-a-lifetime hands-on immersion opportunities. The details of these exciting happenings are almost too numerous to mention. Hence, our goal with this annual report was to give you a personalized snapshot. Carmen Taylor’s essay, “The Making of Campus” comprises the heart of this book, and it does an amazing job of putting you on-site with students as they work through issues, both material and cultural, while simultaneously giving you an appreciation of the greater trajectory of the organization. We wanted to remind you that DesignBuildBLUFF is not only the idea of giving students the unique opportunity of


learning by doing, exploring alternative modes of practice, and understanding that true sustainability is using elements naturally at hand, within reach, both physically and economically; but that Bluff, UT is an actual place, with real geography, history, people, and concerns. Part of our university’s stated goals is to “engage communities”. In addition, the college, in its Four Commitments, puts an emphasis on “community resilience” and a “respect for the health and culture of all places”. In following these same practices, we have shaped our own appreciation: in order to truly serve the beneficiaries of our work, we need to honor the unique origins and traditions of the place from where we take our namesake. It is my hope that the Bluff campus becomes a nexus for the region. So I am asking that you continue to invest in us to develop these possibilities. The program will still erect the most innovative and appropriate rural desert architecture for the Navajo Nation, but in addition, it will empower those that ultimately inhabit the spaces that our faculty and students collectively craft. Burgeoning partnerships with Navajo Technical University, Utah Diné Bikéyah, Bluff Elementary School, Bluff Service Area, and the Dennehotso Sweat Equity

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emerging voices and opportunities found only within this

Project are evidence that the local community sees us as an important resource. What did not make this book, but what I want to make sure to mention, is that our current group is actively prototyping a design for sweat equity. In the future, clients will actually participate in the construction of their own homes using their labor and toil as a form of contribution. Our work is about acknowledging that while we do not have all of the answers, our impact can be great through collaboration. To all of our alumni and supporters this book is for you, thank you! You have truly made a difference. Warm Regards,

JOSÉ GALARZA Director of DesignBuildBLUFF College of Architecture + Planning



Cedar Hall

IT’S A WEDNESDAY MORNING and just a few DesignBuildBluff students are down in the kitchen crouching




breakfast bowls. Within a half hour more souls wander groggily down from the second floor of the

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Scorup house. Eventually everyone gathers in the shop amongst the wood saws and building materials for morning exercises. Atsushi and Hiroko Yamamoto, DBB’s building instructors



organize the calisthenics every morning and soon students are stretching as instructions emanate from a Japanese radio station. Arms reach up to the sky, down to the ground, up to the sky, down to the ground. After stretching, there is an OSHA briefing on safety and then it’s off to work.


Hiroko walks from the shop over to the south wall of DBB’s latest project. She’s planning to get charcoal for a natural plaster that will darken the wall from an earthen red to black. Several students are gathered around the wall, sizing up the work to be done. Another student, Dani Gianonne, started her work at the shop, running planks of reclaimed wood through a planer. Two more students are up on top of the building, hammering in cedar planks for the rooftop deck. It is two weeks before DesignBuildBluff’s newest structure is scheduled for completion and the smell of cut cedar and urgency is in the air. T HE MAKI N G OF A CAMPU S

Along with the students’ building tasks in these final weeks, they are also obligated to name the structure. After a series of somewhat stressful consensus-based meetings, they eventually settle on “Cedar Hall”. “I was prepared to make drawings and





program,” says Portia Strahan, a DBB student. “What I wasn’t prepared for were twelve other opinions. Trying to move forward being as democratic and inclusive as possible is a challenge and critical to working in a large group.” The collaborative design process, essential in the making of any DBB structure, is a foundational value that the program’s newest project expands upon. This year’s students designed Cedar Hall to be a confluence for future generations of students and the community at large.


public inside. When the DBB team began drawing the building, they oriented its face to the street. The front of the building is beveled, acting as a funnel that directs outside traffic to the front door. This

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At the onset, Cedar Hall was designed to invite the

street-side entrance is a single panel door that swings in and leads across the space out to a fourpanel door, which then follows an axis that cuts through the other DBB buildings, bringing people into the larger campus. The space inside is open and flexible, allowing DBB to do classroom work, as well as visitors like University of Utah researchers, the local elementary school, or the Bluff Arts Festival to use the space. With a rooftop deck and benches installed as a final element to give pedestrians a


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ipicab ipsam quis debitem quid quam.

place to stop, the building itself encourages an open and collaborative spirit. “We’re not trying to import some kind of knowledge from the outside. Instead, we want to support and empower the community. This requires shifting our position,” says DBB’s director, Jose Galarza. The DBB program first took up residence in Bluff after its founder, Hank Louis, bought the historic Scorup house over ten years ago. John Albert Scorup, an early rancher in the area, made his fortune


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with his eponymous cattle company at the turn of the twentieth century. Since Louis’ conversion of the residential grounds into an incubator for his design projects in the Navajo Nation, the Scorup property has grown into a campus including the shop, Scorup house, and a bathhouse, all serving to maintain a presence in Bluff and continue providing educational opportunities to DBB students. With the addition of Cedar Hall, the Scorup property is poised to make its newest transformation, from a student campus into a resource for the community at large.





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2 0 16 / 2 0 17 AN N U AL REPOR T Anitas duntius cilitin ulparcit et fugit aut.




“ I have the confi things now. I’ve have to get over of not knowing thing. And now to wait anymore.

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dence to build learned that you the initial fear how to do somethere’s no need Just go for it.” — D ANI GIANONNE, DesignBuildBluff student, on what she’s going to take away from the program


Badger Springs 12pm WHILE THE WOOD PLANER IS HUMMING and the sun is calculating its rays onto the shoulders of the students working on Cedar Hall’s roof, the sagebrush steppe beyond Bluff spans quietly out towards the distant cliffs on the horizon. Mary and Gary Benally’s solitary plot is a twentyminute drive out of Bluff and into the Navajo Nation. They are among the 250,000 members of the tribe who live on the reservation and one of the 310 households T HE MAKI N G OF A CAMPU S

that make up the Mexican Water chapter of Navajo Nation. In 2015, DBB students designed and built their home, “Badger Springs”, the namesake of which comes from a nearby water source. Early in the afternoon, Gary is at home and walks around his property pointing out significant marks on the land. He raises a finger towards a stand of cottonwoods that bespeak the spring’s hidden underground source not far from the house. Gary is wearing a “Protect Bear’s Ears” t-shirt. The proposed national monument’s namesake can be seen in the distance. Mary is out for the afternoon at a chapter committee meeting. She grew-up in Mexican Water where her family has lived for more than a hundred years. She and Gary met in Bluff and raised six children in the Mexican Water chapter. Before moving into the Badger Springs house, Gary, Mary, and their daughter, Janice, lived in the Benallys’ hogan, a traditional Navajo dwelling, just down the road.



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Mary is an active participant in her family and community. She hosts survivors of domestic abuse and big events in her home. During initial discussions about her new home’s design, Mary hoped for a large space to accommodate fifty guests at a time. Since DBB’s houses are limited to 800 square feet, the design focused on connecting the inside to the outside, allowing the space to take in many people through the combination. A cantilevered patio connects to an eastern facing entrance, important to Navajos to catch the first rays of dawn. The cantilever creates a shaded area that is functional year round and at almost all hours of the day. The Badger Springs design also utilized solar panels and introduced GRID Alternatives, a renewable clean


energy based nonprofit, to the local Navajo community. The solar panels serve as a demonstration project and a way to begin training local tribal members who have an interest or expertise in green collar jobs. With the panels, the Benallys are producing more energy for the electric company than they are taking, accruing a surplus in the form of credits. The involvement of partners like GRID Alternatives in DBB’s work with the Navajo Nation demonstrates the kinds of potential benefits that lie outside the traditional realm of architecture. Since DBB began in 2004, 16 houses have been built, and over 250 so well positioned to serve as a confluence of ideas and collaboration in the area. According to Galarza, this is essential in better understanding how DBB can facilitate the building of the Navajo community’s capacity to serve itself.

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students have graduated. Yet it has never before been





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“ Having a place to stay, you have security. Here, this is all ours. Living down there (in the hogan), we were just in transition.” — G ARY BENALLY, resident of Badger Springs, on what it was like transitioning into his new home from where his family was living before


A Future Forum 7 pm AS THE SUN GOES DOWN on another building day for the DBB students, Galarza is headed to Bluff’s community center, a ten-minute walk from the Scorup House. This evening, the Bluff Service Area Board is convening. With just over two hundred residents, Bluff is currently trying to incorporate itself as a town. Instead of town hall meetings, active residents here have service area meetings. About fifteen locals gather issues at hand. The agenda items span from a new archaeological discovery in the area to debates about engineering a new road. As the president runs through the agenda, Galarza is introduced and he stands up to discuss DBB’s latest project. He takes a few minutes to describe Cedar

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in an unassuming hall to discuss the community’s

Hall’s progress and then proposes that DBB’s campus could serve as a resource for Bluff and the region at large.

He explains that acting as an intermediary

to the university, DBB could connect Bluff to the intellectual bandwidth of the university, pulling from many different disciplines that could be an asset to the community. This introduces the 37° N initiative.

37° N HANK LOUIS SET THE PROGRAM’S DESTINY in place and space when he chose to buy the Scorup property in Bluff and work in the Navajo Nation.


As Louis’ successor, Galarza is reinterpreting what it means for DBB to exist in southeast Utah, both spatially and culturally distanced from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. “Our namesake honors that we believe this place to be special. The most important aspect of our program is where we are and whom we work with. The location and the work with Navajo is exceptionally unique and exceptionally important,” says Galarza. Galarza is transitioning the next era of DBB from a focus on building single-family houses towards a more holistic approach to working with the communities T HE MAKI N G OF A CAMPU S

in Bluff and the Navajo Nation. Determined to make the next era of DBB both philosophically and fiscally sound, Galarza has crafted a framework to enhance what the program already offers, while involving other disciplines from The U. “From the university’s perspective, there’s a lot of input and cost for 16 students to participate in DBB each semester. So we had to ask ourselves, how can we increase the client and student impact and involve more faculty and research?” Through this thinking, Galarza helped to form what’s now become the 37° N initiative, referencing the latitude that establishes the southern border of the state.

Several university departments, including

the Colleges of Architecture + Planning, Social Work, Education, and Global Health, are collaborating in the effort. They will develop a vision, implementation strategy, and financial plan to enhance the impact of the university’s efforts in Southern Utah.


with key leaders and organizations working in the community: Dine Bikeyah, GRID Alternatives, the Bluff Elementary School, the town of Bluff, and Navajo Nation Chapters. Through the 37° N initiative, the vision is for the DBB program to become more interdisciplinary, diversify the amount of people it works with, and become broader than a single-family impact.

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Outside of the university, Galarza is collaborating

Latent Opportunities JUST AS THE SPRINGS NEAR the Benally’s home would go unnoticed without local insight, many opportunities between the communities of Bluff and DBB lie untapped. The Mexican Water Chapter House is a stone’s throw from the 2014 DBB project, Mexican Water Cabins. The Chapter House is the center of the Navajo’s local government, which serves members in both Arizona







chapter is




renewable energy; she sees how the solar panels installed on the Benally’s house could lower the energy bills of a larger group of households on the reservation. Looking toward the future of DBB’s continued engagement in the region, opportunities to collaborate on architectural, structural improvements, and community projects abound. Galarza is mindful of these potentialities and is positioning the program as an extension of local visions. T HE MAKI N G OF A CAMPU S

“There is a potent energy ready to be catalyzed,” says Galarza. “A catalyst adds to something and creates an action. We are not the thing that performs the action; we release the potentialities of people and resources. We are surrounded by people who all have abilities, latent or otherwise, and the desire to act upon them.”



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Sweet Caroline

Cedar Hall



Badger Springs


Bath House


Mexican Water


Rabbit Ear


Rosie Joe




Studio 23


White Horse

Little Water

275 +

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Since 2012

Volunteer Hours Completed

8,905 30,855

Volunteers Recruited and Mobilized


313 33

Financials PROJECT COST CASE STUDY: CEDAR HALL 2016 ($59,244) Project Value Analysis Cash Expense $24,822 In-Kind Donation $34,362




Cash and In-Kind Donation Breakdown General Foundation Walls Roof Doors + Windows Exterior Finish Interior Finish HVAC Landscape Material Transport Water Cachment + Spiral Stair

Cash Expense


Value including In-Kind

FUNDING FLOWCHART Foundations / Grants Business Donations Individual Donations In-Kind Donations Government / Tribal



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COLLABORATORS University of Utah Faculty Associated Non-Profits Local Town Government Local Tribal Chapters

TOTAL PROGRAM EXPENSE: FY 2015-16 ($177,287) Personnel $106,372


Campus + Equipment $31,912 Building Projects $30,139

1% 4%

Student Support $7,091



Marketing + Outreach $1,773


Current Staff JosĂŠ Galarza

Contracted Assistants

Director, Assistant Professor


Atsushi Yamamoto

J. Abubo

Coordinator, Instructor, Technical Lead

Community Engaged Learning

Hiroko Yamamoto

Chance Murray

Coordinator, Instructor, Technical Lead

Business Development

Carmen Taylor Literature Development

Current Advisors Hank Louis Founder, Mentor

Keith Diaz Moore

Kelsey Premo-Jones Brand & Identity Consultant

Zoe Minikes Brand & Identity Consultant

Dean, College of Architecture + Planning University of Utah OU R TEAM

Mimi Locher Chair, School of Architecture University of Utah


Adam Kilmer

Emily Black


Mark Haslam Fabrication

Kyle Mullikin Engineering Consultant

Anthony Shirley Cultural Advisor

Ceceilia Tso Cultural and Administrative Advisor


Graduate & Teaching Assistants

Eric Blyth Joshua Riffe Spencer Swalberg Elahe Zarezade

Our Supporters BUSINESSES

Jacobsen Construction Company


JRC Lighting

Advanced Stripping Technologies

Kilmer Fabrications

AMCOR An Oldcastle Company

Lefthand Masonry, LLC

Arizona Tile

Lighting Specialists

Big-D Construction

Light Texture

Big Ass Solutions

The Masonry Heater Association

Border States Electrical


Buehner Block Co

McGregor and Associates

Capital Lumber

Mecho Systems


Modern Craftsman

Colvin Engineering

Mountain Fiber Insulation

Construction Spec. Institute

Mountain Land Design

EDA Architects, Inc

Moyes Glass

Engineers Without Borders

Nole’s Nursery

EWS Electrical

North Stone Heat Supply, LLC

Ferguson Plumbing

Phillip K Erickson Photography

Fry Brothers Farms

Quantum Lighting

Gigaplex Architects

Redd Mechanical

Godfrey Trucking

RJ Masonry Inc.

Good Neighbors Project

Rainwater Hogs

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Johnstone Supply

Grace Ice and Water GSBS Architects H&H Windows ICC Chimney Intermountain Wood Interstate Brick Imbue Design


Our Supporters continued Rocky Mountain Windows & Doors Rustica Hardware Sausage LLC Scot Zimmerman Photography Sherwin Williams Simpson Strongtie Spotlight Home Tours StrucSoft Solutions Slavens True Value Sugarhouse Glass OU R SU PPORTERS

Wasatch Laser Processing Wasatch Steel Wild Land Nursery Wilson’s Paint

Erin Carraher Barton & Linn Done Valoree Dowell Sara Distin Barris J. Evulich Karen Ferguson Mayra G. Focht Mark & Libby Haslam Susan Fredston-Hermann Holly Herren Tamara Guy Carol L. Hoeman Stephen G. Jenkins Harold William Keland John Koutrouba Susan Klinker


Dale Ayer Daryl & Steve Barrett Christine Barker David Barton Cynthia Lee Bithell Elizabeth Blackner Teresa Blair Christopher Brown Kent Barton Gordon F. Carmen


Corigan Kushma Mira A. Locher Henry J. Louis Herbert J. Louis Mark Paul Maldonado Jesse McDonald Anne G. Mooney Matt and Brooke Morrison Dave & Amy Rasmussen Robbi D. Richter John C. Ruple Brenda C. Scheer

Melissa Taylor Schnulle Tristan Richard Shepherd Elizabeth H. Solomon John P. Sparano Barbara Stagg Matt L. Swindel Lois Watts

AmeriCorps, Utah Campus Compact Bike & Build Grid Alternatives Habitat Restore Jane Barrett Memorial Fund

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The Layton Rotary Club Louis Foundation, Inc. Lowell Bennion CS Center Mexican Water Chapter Michael W. Louis Trust Modern Woodmen of America Navajo Royalty Fund Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund Rotary Club of Layton The Elation Foundation United Way of Salt Lake US Reclamation Bureau If you’ve donated in the past year and we missed you, please contact us:


The University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning 375 S. 1530 E., Rm 332 ARCH Salt Lake City, UT 84112 P F

(801) 585-5354 (801) 581-8217