Sonoran Desert, Tucson, Arizona – DUST Architects

Built Area: 3,640 sq ft (337m2)
Year: 2012
Photography: Jeff Goldberg/EstoBill Timmerman

Nature still provides the best building materials as this rammed earth home demonstrates. Extensive use of texturing throughout the home adds to the drama of the desert location while careful positioning has protected the environment in which it sits.

A rammed earth home by DUST Architects
A rammed earth home by DUST Architects

From the architect:

The Tucson Mountain Retreat is located within the Sonoran Desert; an extremely lush, exposed, arid expanse of land that emits a sense of stillness and permanency, and holds mysteries of magical proportions.  The home is carefully sited in response to the adjacent arroyos, rock out-croppings, ancient cacti, animal migration paths, air movement, sun exposure and views.  Great effort was invested to minimize the physical impact of the home in such a fragile environment, while at the same time attempting to create a place that would serve as a backdrop to life and strengthen the sacred connections to the awe-inspiring mystical landscape.

Intentionally isolating the parking over 400 feet from the house, one must traverse and engage the desert by walking along a narrow footpath toward the house, passing through a dense clustered area of cacti and Palo Verde that obscure direct views of the home  Upon each progressive footstep, the house slowly reveals itself. The entry sequence, a series of playfully engaging concrete steps, dissolves into the desert. The home is primarily made of Rammed Earth.

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Another rammed earth home you might like is this one at Lake Chapala