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Awards Category

Unbuilt Architecture

Project Summary

A group of aspen trees is referred to as a stand or colony, each tree a genetic replicate of the other, expanding their number through a single seeding. The individual trees in an aspen stand are interconnected through their roots, creating a single, large organism with the resiliency to withstand forest fires, droughts, and other natural disasters. Inspired by the deep-rooted resiliency of the native aspen trees, mirrored by the client’s deep-rooted connection to this land, the design builds out from the existing home using circulation spines to connect the new enclosures to the original.

Project Narrative

In Being and Time, Martin Heidegger presents his thoughts on the concept of “dasein”, literal translation to “being-there” – the specific, particular being that is there, and not elsewhere, and not everywhere. He theorizes that dasein cannot originate in that which is not specifically rooted in its own heritage while also being shared with others. Heritage, in this context, is viewed as the ground in which inventing is to take place. Inventing, to be well intentioned, requires thinking from out of and into that which is inherited and shared with others. Authenticity is achieved when dasein acknowledges its heritage in such a way that it links together the past and the future. This project critically investigates the issues surrounding heritage and place to generate an architecture which merges the historic vernacular of Parowan, UT with the specificity of place. Conceptual grounding is found in the native Aspen tree; its colonizing growth pattern expressed in architectural form, while the tree’s iconic bark is celebrated in the project’s materiality. The forms and materials connect to a shared consciousness of place, thoughtfully interpreted, and reconceived to envision an authentic fate for today. This project challenges the development of spaces which compromise dasein with their everyday banality, where a sense of “being-in” has been replaced with the homogenous blandness of a globalized aesthetic. The design seeks to establish an awakening of dasein, to create an environment which encourages mindfulness and introspection, to encourage the acknowledgement of the past while grounding the experience firmly in the present. Here, the specificity of material connects a traditional craft of making with today and this place, the spirit of this specific place is celebrated in a human experience, and dasein is deeply rooted in nature and time. A single existing structure standing alone in the landscape, served as the beginning of the new compound. Two additional structures (living/master and garage/barn) were added to form a modernistic representation of early homesteads. On the edge of the Spanish Trail, the town of Parowan, Utah was settled by pioneers looking to renew their spirit and form a commitment to the land through their homesteads. Rooted in the farmhouse mythology of its vernacular predecessors, a compound is created to form a refuge within its historic setting. Material selection is specific to the place and bearing the mark of the craftsman. The whitewashed oak and black steel connection plates, utilized throughout the home’s interior and exterior, allude to the surrounding aspen trees and their characteristic white bark and visible black scars. This materiality ties the project to the past while representing the spirit of place today.

Sustainable Design & Materials

material selection is rooted in farmhouse mythology. A compound, village is created to form a refuge within a historic setting. On the edge of the Spanish Trail, Parowan (town) was settled by pioneers looking to renew their spirit and form a commitment to home-life through their homesteads/ farms. These structures were made from material specific to the place. Materials of earth, incorporated from craftsmen create a direct connection to the place. Aspen trees, plentiful in the area, are distinguished through their white bark and visible black scars. A white washed oak is used throughout the interior and exterior with cold rolled steel connection plates. Materiality ties the project to a past while representing the spirit of place today.

Project Stats

Square Feet


Green Building Designation(s)

Date of Completion

In Design

Project Location

Parowan, UT 84761, USA

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