The solRose project was designed and executed to meet the needs of a client, who at our first encounter, was just barely adjusting to life in a wheelchair. At the time she was living in a very humble single-wide trailer that was in disrepair and impossible for her to access. Our students met with her to address her needs through the design and construction of an ADA wheelchair accessible house, which would exceed those standards and vastly improve her ability to once again take care of herself. The focus of the design became how to reconnect her with views and the outdoors. The site was uniquely suited to this task as it had 360 degree sweeping panoramas of important land formations, including Monument Valley, Bears Ears, and Blue Mountain. Major considerations, aside from the landscape, were interior mobility of the client, natural light, passive thermal regulation, and other low technology solutions that were regionally and environmentally appropriate. These were realized through clerestory windows, an outdoor living space, and natural plaster of locally harvested clay covering the north and south inlets. The exterior is clad in a fiber cement panel rain screen, articulated by an aluminum datum line. The interior entry statement is a 10' high rammed earth wall, also of local clay. A custom made highly-efficient, wood burning, masonry heater that keeps the space comfortable in the winter. Knowing that off-the-shelf cabinetry would not give the client full use of the space, custom built-ins (with full-extension hardware) and furniture were constructed to streamline the 800 square foot floor plan. A handmade clay oven is the hearth of the outdoor living space, enclosed by a cedar shade structure that provides refuge in the summer.
LocationDinétah, Navajo Nation
Year of completion2014
University of Utah StudentsSpencer Anderson, Emily Black, Ray Bryson, Emily Nybo, Matt Pattberg, Matthew Reeves, Talbot Rice, Matt Rogers, Marin Smith, Tyson Smith, and Nic Tucker.