A Masters in Architecture - Learning by Building By Sarah Boman '07



foundation done.jpg

Completed Foundation at the "Rain House"


I'm working on my final year of a Masters in Architecture at the University of Colorado Denver, and instead of taking a typical Advanced Design Studio in the classroom, I'm building a house in the desert. After working for several years as a consultant in building technologies and energy efficiency, I found myself missing design. Architecture seemed like the perfect combination of my work experience in buildings and my love of design. 


Through DesignBuild Bluff, a non-profit, twenty-one other students (2 undergrad engineering, 19 other graduate architecture) and myself are designing and building a house for a Navajo family - Lorraine Toney and her five children. We spent the summer visiting the site, interviewing Lorraine, and then we began designing the house. After coming up with a preliminary idea, we worked with the engineers to model the house's energy use with different configurations. Collectively, we decided to create a simple, clean 1,200 sq ft house that balances Lorraine's needs, passive heating and cooling, as well as our limited budget of $29,000.


This fall, we're living in Bluff, Utah and constructing the "Rain house" on the Navajo reservation thirty minutes away. We've been building for five weeks, and we're actually on track to complete the house by mid-December. It's an amazing opportunity to learn architecture through hands on experience and give a home to a fantastic family. 




Sarah on the job site. 


Check out more pictures and stories http://designbuildbluff.org/blog/ of Sarah and her team as they work on the new Toney home. 

Posted in: A Broader World View, A Different Path, Alumni Speak, Learning about Design, Making a Difference