Untethered from a defining architectural style, the idiosyncratic designs of Rizwan Faruqui and Bang Dang exude a start-from-scratch quality. That doesn’t mean their projects lack cohesion. The Dallas-based firm’s angular and geometric residences offer up a contemporary vision of the Southwest while putting the region’s greatest assets to work: disparate landscape and endless blue sky.
That rings especially true for the Santa Fe Residence, the firm’s first foray outside of the Lone Star State. Set among rolling, arid hills dotted with pinon and juniper trees, the house takes cues from turn-of-the-century Pueblo Revival architecture, reinterpreting them through a modern lens. The result is an arresting domicile that captures the sublime solitude of the desert topography, its glass walls and sheltered patios framing northern New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains, which also serve as a dreamy backdrop for the owner’s substantial collection of paintings and sculptures. “The opportunity to work in a geographic location significantly distant from the home of our practice always sparks the discovery of a different process and reinvigorates old and new ideas of space and form,” Faruqui and Dang say.
Below, we take a closer look at the project.
Project Description: Following a multi-year relationship between the architects and the client developing unique urban infill projects in Texas, the owner’s relocation to New Mexico transplanted the relationship to the serene capital and a radically different landscape.
The project merges two architectural strategies. The first relates to how the building meets the land by nestling into the terrain and the low, surrounding vegetation. The second is a distributed presence within the landscape in consideration of the natural environment and the picturesque views beyond. These combine to yield a volume with three primary programmatic wings, each set on a different angle and oriented towards the dynamic views of the mountain ranges and landmarks on the horizon. The distributed wings allow the spaces within to capture a higher amount of natural light and have a heightened connection to the varied outdoor spaces.
Project Inspiration: The expansive natural terrain and vistas of the Santa Fe landscape are a primary influence on the project and its placement within the rolling five-acre site. Broad views of the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez mountains surrounding the city inspire the project’s form and orientation. The client’s passion for and collection of unique art and sculpture set the stage for the house to embody the qualities of a gallery. The framed works of art within are complemented by expansive glass walls that frame the ‘art’ of the surrounding landscape.
Project Blueprint: The abstraction of the architectural elements into simple vertical and horizontal planes creates a tailored object within the landscape. The great room is the central core of the home with bedroom wings extending from each side. Expansive floor-to-ceiling glass panels pierce the sculptural form throughout, bringing natural light into each space from various orientations. Care is given to their placement to allow generous room for artwork and operable glass walls that extend the interior to the exterior.
A cantilevered horizontal roof plane shades a large covered outdoor area that is at once both a simulation and extension of the interior great room. An extended wall helps to conceal the outdoor areas and acts as delineation in the land in counter to the vehicular drive approach. The house never reveals itself completely but unveils slowly as one enters at the top of the hill then declines along with the approach to the main entry.
Project Takeaway/ Uniqueness: The project began with a very rigorous process of studying how to site the building both in its location on the property and how it negotiates the varied topography of the land. While the three separate wings appear distinct in overall form, the interior layout and spaces flow effortlessly and continuously from one to the next.
A stark visual contrast to the historic Pueblo Revival references of the ‘Santa Fe style,’ the project nonetheless still draws from some of the most rooted of its principles. A deep overhang shades the primary indoor and outdoor spaces, carefully punched openings offer views of the landscape, and a rich earth plaster defines its singular exterior materiality.
Project Challenges: Both accustomed to the sprawling concrete-centric density of North Texas, the client and architect welcomed the contrast of the natural New Mexico terrain. The project strives to find the balance between being of its place while clearly staking its own unique identity.
The List’s Project Spotlight column features unparalleled projects created by our forward-thinking List members. By going straight to the source—and having the designers demystify the methods behind their designs—we hope to enlighten and inspire our creative audience to further push the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of design.
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