A pair of cabins made from weathered steel and reclaimed barn wood have popped up on a Navajo reservation in Colorado. Inspired by the surrounding red sand desert, the industrial modern Sunrise and Sunset Cabins were constructed through a collaborative partnership between the graduate students and faculty from the University of Colorado Denver’s Design Build BLUFF program and the Mexican Water Chapter of the Navajo Nation. The rentable cube-like dwellings were created to attract tourism dollars to the reservation and help stimulate the local economy.
While both 300-square-foot cabins are similarly designed to evoke the surrounding landscape, each dwelling is crafted with its own unique identity. Influenced by the distant Blue Mountains and Monument Valley, one cabin emerges from the landscape while the other rests on the earth. Following the Navajo tradition of eastern entry, the Sunset Cabin is accessed through the patio first, whereas the Sunrise Cabin is entered through the building and exited out the cantilevered patio. The patios, which are both located on the northern end of the cabins, are built from reclaimed wood and provide shade in the summertime.
The interiors are a continuation of the facade’s industrial modern vibe. Floors, walls, countertops, and sinks constructed from cool-toned concrete provide a pleasing visual contrast against the reddish and earthy tones of the weathered steel and reclaimed barn wood surfaces. The Sunrise Cabin sleeps two in a sunken bed platform, while the more versatile Sunset Cabin sleeps six with a bed, loft, and futon. Carefully placed windows and skylights fill the space with natural light and frame views of the surrounding sand, mountains, and sky.
Images via Design Build BLUFF