Eric(right) is measuring a wood for roof structure
It is here that we abstract many realities of life’s complications. Our group comes from several unique walks of life including artists, a cinematographer, an Indian exchange student, and a cabinet maker. For each of us, our time in Bluff represents a specific nod to a simpler, unfamiliar human nature. For many of us, this life is a drug. We feel more alive, we sleep earlier, we interact more directly, and we gain a respect for rural living. On a daily basis we awake to, drive by, and say goodnight to scenes to which most people only journey a few times in their lives.
Daily, we reconsider what it means to design and build. While some decisions can be made by one person in a matter of seconds, other ideas come about in a democratic and piecemeal process. We consistently confront the tension between the aesthetic/innovative aspirations and the budgetary realities of the building process.
This experience, however, is not just about us, but rather a community, on a macro scale, and a nuclear family, specifically. The Monument Valley house represents a gift to the educational community of the Navajo Nation by encouraging two dedicated educators to call this area home. Fostering the Don and Sharon Stryker’s move to the area provides students with access to two more highly educated and caring citizens who not only enjoy sharing their knowledge and their massive library of books, but also the opportunity to see a responsibly built home on the Rez, in their own backyard. It will hopefully inspire the community, in a grassroots sense, to change their living and building habits because of a newly sustained inquiry into environmental stewardship.
To paraphrase the thoughts of Colson Whitehead, we must cherish these surroundings and take the time while we are here: “pay tribute, for they are the caretakers of your reinventions; [they] are calendars containing who we were and who we will be next.” Bluff is something unique to which we will most certainly refer over the course of our lives. By living, eating, and sleeping on the same piece of land that, for now, houses our creation, this whole experience becomes integral to who we are and who we will become.
- Eric Harker