Vacation house, open to the elements: uses shading, thermal mass, solar absorbtion, and breeze flow for temperature regulation.
The house is set 4′-0« into the ground so that it’s highest point is 8′ tall and it almost looks like it is too low to be a habitable structure. The overhang at the front step is 6′-8. Once inside the ceilings are almost 10′ high.
I have developed a present, local, and personal aesthetic language that I find can engage its specific physical and cultural context in more subtle and powerful ways than the more universal and abstract approaches that dominate the scene. I am well aware that it is very different than the leading edge of mainstream architecture, and I am sure that some of the things that make it resonate so strongly here in the Southern California desert also make it difficult for outsiders to fully assemble, but I am going for depth rather than breadth.
To place this work among other approaches, imagine a corporeal post-modernism. . . without the irony, diagrammatic detachment or architectural tourist references. Imagine critical regionalism that works with the dirty and real cultural context rather than idealized archetypes. Imagine modernism that shows the pathology and scars accrued over a century of cultural use and misuse. Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I have found a lot of possibilities for new architecture.
There is also in this architecture the application of a lot of lessons learned from the subject/object relationship fostered in contemporary art. This approach regrettably has no parallel in architecture today, but it makes possible a more dynamic conception of how people inhabit and perform in the space, how the wider culture can be engaged, and where meaning is located and how it is produced or discovered.
What I am proposing that is new, other than this particular desert modern aesthetic, is a way of working that is more exploratory in terms of meaning, personal in its inspiration, direct its execution, and meaningful to its intended audience. More than anything I hope to stake out a wider field for architecture to engage its context in more interesting and nuanced ways. This house is just one small step out into that expanded field.
Project Name: Rosa Muerta
Architect: Robert StoneLocation: Joshua Tree, California- open desert site
Completed: January, 2009
Living area: 1300 sqf / 124 sqm
Site area: 2.5 acres / 12,000 sqm