The Nakai House is an energy efficient and economical production that is proof that a lifestyle design can be done on a budget, and with time restrictions.
It was built in only 80 days, and the set finances for the plan, $25,000, was maintained.
DesignBuildBLUFF, a nonprofit extension in Utah who works with local universities is behind the design. They provide architectural students the opportunity to learn firsthand in the field by enlisting them on teams for help with their construction projects, developing sustainably built homes for residents of the Navajo reservation. This not only allows students to enhance their skillsets, but also gives them a glimpse of just how much their efforts can mean in a community.
Though the exterior may look a little on the rectangular side, the large windows allow natural sunlight to flood the interior, which was custom built for the client. Lorraine Nakai is the owner, and certainly helped to bring the vision of the home to life. A poet, entomologist and farmer, her love of literature and the local landscape was paramount in the planning process.
With her wish to display an extensive book collection and other cherished items, a resourceful and out of the ordinary idea emerged. A 50 foot bookshelf was built that runs along the entire home. The wall of room dividing shelving units creates ample storage space and added functionality.
The bedroom nook unsuspectingly sits in the middle of the shelving. Also unexpected are the interior entrances to some of the other rooms, like the bathroom, which sits amidst the shelving and can be entered through the bookshelf area.
A large picture glass window with built in seating is the perfect place to go after picking a book from the shelf.
The home was built to be responsive to the desert climate. Its positioning makes the most of the dessert sun and cross ventilation. The entrance faces south and the overhang from the parabolic roof creates added shelter and shade.
It is structured with salvaged pipe oil columns and is covered in reclaimed spandrel glass. This allows more control of the glaring sun and cold winds in the winter season. It also lends to more energy efficiency and the inside remains cooler on hotter days and helps hold in the warm air on colder days.
The ability to stick to the budget and increase its space with the resourceful shelving units is a creative model to look to.
This residence also pays homage to its surroundings, and one of the bests parts is probably the beautiful views of the desert sky.
All photographs of the Nakai House are the property of DesignBuildBLUFF.
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