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TEDxSaltLakeCity - Hank Louis - Compassionate Sustainability

Hank Louis, founder of DesignBuildBluff, discusses the purposes and benefits of the socially-conscious educational program that allows architectural students to to design and build off-the-grid homes for families on the Navajo Reservation. The founder of DesignBuildBLUFF, Hank Louis received a Humanities degree from the University of Southern California in 1975. After pursuing a career in journalism, passion for design and the building process led Louis to earn a Master of Architecture from the University of Utah, where he was also honored with the Certificate of Merit in the Study of Architecture from the Henry Adams Fund of The American Institute of Architects for Excellence. Currently principal of Gigaplex, an award-winning architectural design firm based in Park City, Louis founded DesignBuildBLUFF in 2000 after being inspired by Samuel Mockbee's Rural Studio. Louis was drawn to Mockbee's design-build project—in which students from Auburn University build homes in the Black Belt of Alabama—because in it he saw a willingness to work hard, to eschew known comforts, to test unfamiliar methods, and, above all, to learn. He saw the coming together of two cultures considered diametrically opposed, and decided that he wanted in. With Mockbee's advice and encouragement, Louis began DesignBuildBLUFF, which enables students from the University of Utah to design and build off-the-grid homes for families on the Navajo Reservation. A decade since its inception, DesignBuildBLUFF has built 8 homes for families of the Navajo Nation. The program recently expanded to include students from the University of Colorado, allowing it to build more homes, provide more hands-on experience, and create more change. Louis remains awestruck by the organic lesson DesignBuildBLUFF imparts. By immersing students in an unfamiliar culture and process, the program tips the scales of tolerance to open ears, hearts and, ultimately, minds. The very shift Louis experienced when he first heard of Mockbee's Rural Studio is what DesignBuildBLUFF facilitates in every student, in every home, in every community it reaches. In the words of Samuel Mockbee, "Act on a foundation of decency. Go above and beyond the call of a 'smoothly functioning practice,' help those who aren't likely to help you in return, and do so even if nobody is watching." About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
Length: 17:56


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