by Katherine Pioli
University of Utah architecture students share stories of success and setback as designers/builders with DesignBuildBluff.
It’s midwinter in Bluff, Utah, and a blizzard has just blown in. In one of the town’s many old Mormon pioneer houses, 20 graduate students from the University of Utah architecture program are starting their morning, piling dishes into the sink and grabbing coats as they head for the door. These are student workers from DesignBuildBLUFF (DBB), a volunteer component of the University’s graduate architecture program. This white January morning is their first day of work, not as architects, but as builders.
Gathering for a group meeting in an open-air shop on the property, they vie for the only warm space next to the stove. Before the morning is over, these students, more accustomed to working with models in a design studio, will receive an introduction to the working world of Skil saws and pneumatic nailers. Standing in the cold, listening to a lecture about power tool safety, it starts to really sink in: This is not your average school semester.