Calling the Marfa Suite house “haunted” is in no sense a put-down. The project from Tucson, Ariz.-based DUST Architects seems to be inhabited by a few very impressive, very attractive ghosts: the landscape of the Chihuahuan Desert, the eerie emptiness of which gives the town of Marfa, Texas, its peculiar allure; the work of Donald Judd, the famous Minimalist artist who first made Marfa and art-world hot spot; and the cultural memory of the American West, with a romance that DUST has successfully translated into a uniquely poetic yet practical domestic design.
With and exterior made out of compressed earth blocks, the house presents as a roughhewn, rustic form-an impression that carries through the modestly scaled interior with its expose concrete floors. The site plan, including intimate garden enclosures planted with indigenous flora, is carefully calibrated to make the house feel like a part of the vast, unpeopled ecosystem, and its simple unobtrusive silhouette won’t spoil the view from the neighbor’s ranch. Yet Marfa Suite is also a very comfortable-and decidedly luxurious-machine for contemporary living, equipped with operable skylights, radiant-heat floors, and custom wood furniture and closets. Lilting and elegiac, Marfa Suite is a house of echoes, full of old familiar voices singing about space, place, and the past. – I.V
“The intense crispness of the rammed-earth exterior is situated perfectly in the Texan desert.” – Melissa Daniels