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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Following is an essay from Daryl Barrett, DBB Board Chair and mother to Jane Barrett, passionate pioneer who helped Hank make the Bluff dream come true. Daryl writes her musings after the Board Retreat that took place on March 29 in Bluff. Enjoy!

Reflections on the Bluff Experience
May, 2008
Daryl Barrett, DesignBuildBLUFF Chair

This is our third trip to Bluff to visit the DesignBuildBLUFF program, and with each trip Steve and I fall more in love with the mission of building better architects, the DBB program, its effects on all that come in contact with it, and the physical area that is unique and beautiful beyond belief. They are all intertwined. Each year, we gain a deeper understanding of our daughter Jane’s passion and are proud to be part of the program.

As we arrived we were struck with the magnitude of the project this year. Two unique structures on the Bluff campus that will enable the CA+P’s ability to expand this opportunity to more students, an important point that the National Accreditation committee concluded last year as well as evidenced by the high student demand and satisfaction with the program. It was wonderful to see the students working on both projects. They are both fascinating and will make a wonderful contribution to the Bluff Campus. With growth come unique opportunities and challenges for the Director, the staff, the Board, and the College. Our challenge is to facilitate the ongoing support for the program, and I commit as Board Chair to continue the work.

This year we were excited to share the Bluff experience with new Board member, Vicky Hoagland, and her husband John. Sydney Fonnesbeck from the Community Development Corporation and her husband Chris also attended, as well as Brent and Susan Cameron and Mike Burtleson, all friends of the program. Faculty and staff from the CA+P came, some returning because they are hooked (like us!), and some for the first time. We also enjoyed meeting several members of the Bluff community who joined our tour and many more who came to the Saturday night celebration, including Board member Bill Davis, his wife Debbie, and Caroline Lameman. Bill and Caroline, you both definitely keep us in touch with the community of Bluff and we thank you for that! Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support and contribution to the success of the program

Visiting the finished homes on the reservation is truly a highlight. This year we enjoyed the hospitality of Caroline and Audrey Lameman, 2006 recipients, and Dora and Baxter Benally, 2007 recipients, as they treated us with unique and tasty Navajo food samplings. It was also heartwarming to see them comfortably settled in their homes. The love of their homes was evident in the placement of furniture, pictures and accessories to make their space uniquely their own; the pride of home ownership was truly felt. With Dora and Baxter having just moved into their home in September, it was a treat for them, and all of us, to have all of the 2007 students involved with the design and building of their home come back to visit and revel in a job well done. I particularly enjoyed witnessing their love affair with the family and with the space they so painstakingly and tenderly created. While I’m sure that all homes are appreciated, there is a difference in those that are loved and nurtured and those that just provide shelter. You feel the spirit as you enter, the homes radiate back the love and nurturing; it’s like a dance and it is felt in these two homes. From my understanding, these two families were very much involved in working with the students in the design/build of their homes; this all being part of the healthy learning process the program offers.

The students also have a unique home in Bluff, the historic Al Scorup home, the Unit and the surrounding area. While the current students are working on the expansion of the campus, it is my hope they also take pride in these dwellings and give them the loving attention witnessed with Caroline and Dora and Baxter; that is- the placement of things, taking care of and cleaning the space, enjoying the space, and making it uniquely their own while sharing it with others. It is a dance, a love affair, and I believe it transcends to the projects they are working on. Thanks to those of you who felt that connection to the Scorup house and assisted with getting the space ready for our wonderful celebration on Saturday night.

Putting together a weekend to highlight the program for new Board members, faculty members, and friends that we want to teach the program to is no simple task. I can’t thank you enough, Karena, (Development Director and a hundred other hats), your husband Adam and family as well, for all your efforts in planning this event, particularly in the wake of unique family responsibilities. You do an incredible job for DBB and its viable future. We have some wonderful donor friends due to your efforts and look forward to joining you in building that list.

Hank, you are not only working so well with the students to widen their vision of architecture, team work, problem solving and social responsibility, but you are sharing your vision with new friends of the program. This is a critical element in our sustainability. Much of your time is used in this way and it’s definitely making a difference in the visibility and viability of the program.

Mitch, the day-to-day site management of the program falls on you, a giant task and responsibility. Not only are you an eloquent spokesman for DBB, but you also have the ongoing responsibility as trouble-shooter for all the finished projects, meeting timelines, managing students, and all the other jobs for the completion of the yearly projects. You provide an exceptional advantage to DBB. Having the program in Bluff, but a lot of the operation in Salt Lake and Park City, has its challenges. Our ongoing communication with you is critical and I commit to do more to keep you in the loop by providing Board minutes and other information to assure we’re all on the some page. As we visited, you committed to do the same. We now have a better sense of the important issues the program faces in Bluff. A monthly report from you to the Board would be a benefit to the program.

Anjee, DBB would never have survived the early years without you (and still cannot). It is evident that you put your heart and soul into the program, from managing the finances to procuring materials, this program is a success because of your dedication.

Eric and Jesse, we thank you for your exhaustive commitment and invaluable teaching. And for holding down the fort! It takes many hands and minds to have accomplished what this wonderful project has done to date, and yours especially.

DBB would not be possible without the College of Architecture+Planning and the students participating in the program. Of course, that’s what it’s all about! Brenda, Brad and Patrick, faculty and staff that serve on our board and/or have taken the time to visit the program and who have actively participated in the DBB vision, we look forward to a healthy and sustainable future with you all.

We invite you to share your own reflections of the Bluff experience, how to build on it and how to make it even better! Send your comments to:

With love,



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