There are many sustainably-designed houses being built around the U.S., but few come with a story like this one.
As Inhabitat tells it, Suzie Whitehorse fled her alcoholic husband and began raising a family in a tiny rammed-earth domed shelter on Utah’s Navajo reservation. This wasn’t the ideal place to raise four children, but the Utah Graduate College of Architecture and Planning stepped in.
Through the Design Build Bluff program, the school recruited 18 graduate students to build a house for Whitehorse and her family using mostly salvaged materials and earth. The 1,000-square-foot house was constructed mostly with clay, sand, straw, and water bricks clad in recycled sheets of aluminum and wooden shipping palettes.
The house stays off the grid with solar panels and a rocket stove that can heat the entire structure with just a few small bits of kindling. Solar panels are also used to heat water, some of which is harvested in a rain gutter and stored in an underground cistern.