Every year, about 400,000 tourists make a trip to Utah to visit Monument Valley to look at the southwestern spectacle of sandstone buttes and mesas, but then leave without. Rather than treat this as a pit-stop, the Mexican Water Chapter of the Navajo Nation wanted to provide a resting stop for visitors to stay at. In doing so, they hoped to add to the local economy. 

The Arizona-based government organization approached the University of Utah’s graduate architecture program, Design Build BLUFF, to construct two rentable cabins.

Their answer to this proposal are two 300-square-foot “sibling cubes,” named the Sunrise and Sunset Cabins, made of rusted steel and reclaimed barn wood. The design is influenced by the surrounding landscape, the Blue Mountains and Monument Valley, mimicking the vision of one “resting” on the land, while another “emerges” from it.

Following suit of Navajo tradition, the entrances face towards the east. Each residence features a cantilevered patio, located on the northern sides, to capitalize on providing shade during the summer months.

The interiors feature floors, sinks, and counters made of concrete, with more reclaimed barn wood for the walls and partitions defining the separate rooms—an industrial yet warm contrast in materials. 

See more photos of this project on our sister-site EcoBuilding Pulse>>