In a corner of the Sonoran Desert (Arizona) is a house that wishes to go unnoticed, and manages to. First, it barely rises over three meters, so stands lower than the largest cactuses around. Second, it breaks up into three parts (living room, bedrooms, recording studio), ensuring that there is no blockage of the view of the landscape of mounds stripped of vegetation. Third, the house’s reddish walls are well camouflaged amid the ocher and greenish tones that make up the color palette of the place.
The integration is also achieved by keeping human technology out of the enclave, which cannot be reached by car. One has to park 400 meters away, and from there a stone path leads up to the house, which presents itself to the visitor as part and parcel of the topography. Such effect of continuity is thanks, in part, to the choice of building material, rammed earth, which determines the color, the texture, and also the symbolism of the entire complex. Color because the walls have been built with local clay; texture because the rough finish complements and enriches, through touch, how the building is perceived visually; and symbolism because the solid walls and the way the house sits on the terrain recalls the settlements of the Pueblo Indians.
Thanks to their massiveness and their thermal inertia, the walls of rammed earth also do much to improve the bioclimatic features of the house, which on the other hand has very deep openings providing protection against solar radiation and creating the conditions for good cross ventilation of all the rooms.
Tucson Mountain Retreat House in the Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona (USA).
DUST / Cade Hayes, Jesús Robles.
Diseño interior Interior design
DUST / Cade Hayes, Jesús Robles, Natalia Zieman, Kevin Osborn.
DUST / Cade Hayes, Jesús Robles, Peter Baer (Baer Joinery), Urs Peter Flueckiger.
Contratista General contractor
ESTO / Jeff Goldberg.