Increasingly, I’m more interested in what architecture does than just what it is.  In a previous blog, I wrote about the new office building we designed for Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates (WJE), in Austin, and the use of thermal mass to control temperature.  We’ve now employed those same sustainable principles for a residence in northern New Mexico.  The rammed-earth structure, located outside Santa Fe, virtually disappears into its site and surroundings.  For the earthen walls, we selected four shades of the indigenous sedimentary dirt to create a deep, luscious palette, and it’s used for both exterior and interior surfaces.  In fact, these are much the same colors and hues Georgia O’Keefe found in the same landscape and can often be seen in her paintings.  I’m thrilled with how it all turned out, as are the homeowners.  The house is invisible from the street and even when approached close up, one must proceed through vegetation and down a broad stair into a courtyard.  Only then can one see the entire house … read more

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