Architecture as Cultural Expression

University of Utah architecture student Samantha Eddy’s admiration for architecture is obvious.

Eddy is riding a winning streak following her team’s win at the annual JUMP into STEM final competition, which played off the theme “resilience in the wake of a disaster.” When asked about the win, Eddy said, “It still feels surreal, when I think about it.”

The JUMP into STEM competition was the largest competition to date, with the U.S. Department of Energy offering internships to the four winning teams’ students. The University of Utah’s team won for their holistic and innovative designs that strengthened marginalized and vulnerable communities in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.

Eddy’s Diné heritage is the driving force of her work. She hopes to empower and elevate her community by creating sustainable, modular architecture that maintains cultural traditions while bringing in solar panels, green building materials, and more.

In the future, Eddy plans to pursue an architectural master’s degree. “I see myself going back to the Navajo Nation gathering a team together and founding the first Indigenous architecture firm there,” she said.

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About the Author:

David Wimert David is currently attending the University of Utah, studying game design in the EAE program, with an emphasis on developing 3D video game art. He was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, before moving to Miami at 14. There, he discovered film and photography, which he does to this day.

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