digital edition

Best Green Houses


Hoganís Heroes: Hank Louisís design-build students realize an adapted Navajo housing type in salvaged materials

November 2010

By David Sokol

Wine Creek
Photo © Keith Carlsen
Click the image above to tour this month’s Best Green House.
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When Baxter Benally’s father helped construct the Saint Christopher’s Mission in the 1940s, its Episcopal priest H. Baxter Liebler promised the Navajo native that his family could reside on the 10-acre property just outside Bluff, Utah, in perpetuity. But when it came time for DesignBuildBLUFF—the socially minded University of Utah design-build studio headed by Hank Louis, AIA—to design a home for Benally and his Apache wife Dora, the promise almost wasn’t kept. Ultimately Louis and his students had to craft a last-minute home-site lease through the Episcopal Diocese in order to replace the tatters of cardboard and tin in which the couple had lived without running water and raised five children.

The budget that DesignBuildBLUFF could access for building the Benally residence was not nearly as endless as its own stores of energy to secure the land. The design team realized the project with only $40,000 at its disposal…


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