colorado building workshop places two corten cabins against the desert landscape
all images courtesy of colorado building workshop




set against a backdrop of the distant dusty blue mountains and monument valley, the mexican water chapter of the navajo nation have collaborated with designbuildbluff along with the students from the university of colorado denver’s design build program to plan and construct a pair of rentable cabins.




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both patios, located on the northern side of the cabins, provide shade in the summer




aiming to attract tourism to the area, the two volumes sit side by side, one perching on the landscape, and the other emerging from it. distinguished by its rusted, copper tone cladding, they simultaneously blend into the uniquely sparse landscape known for its red sand. named ‘sunrise and sunset cabins’, they were influenced by the local navajo tradition. both built with their own patios that are oriented to face north, providing shade in the summer away from direct sunlight. the nature and consistent language of the construction is seen through its material choice of reclaimed barn wood and concrete.

reclaimed barn wood and concrete are the two main materials used in the interiors




the raw material palette is accentuated internally, the concrete flooring, counters and sinks complement the timber used on the walls and throughout the bedrooms. both cabins have been designed with comfortable sleeping arrangements, the sunrise cabin accommodates two people with a sunken bed platform while, the other facilitates up to six visitors. carefully orientated and designed to present the best views of the peaceful scenery, the red sand cabins demonstrate craftsmanship and team work to create an idyllic retreat.

sunken bed for two people

living and dining area

carefully placed opening allow scenic views of the scenery

the patio is clad in reclaimed barn wood

electrical lighting fill the spaces with soft light to emphasize materiality

the orientations of the sunrise and sunset cabins were influenced by the navajo tradition of eastern entry





project info:


red sand cabins project team

university of colorado faculty: rick sommerfeld — director, colorado buildingworkshop
designbuildbluff at the uofu: jose galarza
director, designbuildbluff: hiroko yamamoto, atsushi yamamoto
structural engineer: andy paddock, pe
student team: becca barenblat, lauren cooper, cam dang, linh dam, seth donnell, arron elmore, pipsa happo, matt krick, johnny mathews, dan mitchell, kathryn mullinax, ryan nickolas, zane levin, sam palmer, roshan jason patel, robin scher