CRAN Virtual Seminar Series: DesignBuildBLUFF

When:  Dec 16, 2020 from 01:00 PM to 02:30 PM (ET)

CRAN Virtual Seminar Series: DesignBuildBLUFF

At the conclusion of each seminar, there will be a 30-minute discussion with Platinum Sponsor Andersen Windows & Doors about how they are implementing COVID-19 safety, sustainability, and social justice. This discussion does not include AIAU learning units.

Course Description

DesignBuildBLUFF is a graduate architecture program at the University of Utah focused on immersing students in hands-on cross-cultural experiences. We work in partnership with the Rural and Native communities of San Juan County in the Utah Four Corners.

This session will focus on COVID-19’s impact on practice, sustainability, and equity and how we have addressed these issues through our sweat equity design-build projects.

Learning Objectives 

  1. Learn about the region’s largest social problems, the impact of COVID-19, and how the field of architecture can be part of the solution.
  2. Examine the significance of hands-on learning education to strengthen their own architectural practice.
  3. Explore the concept of sweat equity as a tool for homeowner empowerment and capacity building. The concept of “sweat equity” is one in which the client uses their own labor, rather than cash, as a form of contribution in the building process.
  4. Learn how to build affordable, sustainable, and culturally appropriate housing through a participatory design process, flexible housing prototype, and construction methods.


Hiroko Yamamoto, Instructor, DesignBuildBLUFF, The University of Utah
Born in Nagoya, Japan, she studied architecture and received her Master of Architecture from Koba University. She worked with Kinya Maruyama on design-build workshops for several years before joining DesignBuildBLUFF. Hiroko Yamamoto is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Utah and runs the DesignBuildBLUFF program in partnership with her husband Atsushi Yamamoto.

Her research focuses on the hands-on program as architectural education and the influence on the local community. Also, she focuses on the regional building materials and methods including earthen building techniques.