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05 / 2016

Designed to overlook a south facing cliff edge in Northern New Mexico, the Fontanrosa/Ornelas Residence employs a unique plan and equally unique masonry construction that is a direct expression of the occupants and the sacred surrounding geography.  The home is nestled in the dynamic landscape of Northern New Mexico, outside Abiquiu where Georgia O’keefe drew inspiration. The geology of the surrounding mountain faces sets an austere language of the land that I could not ignore. The load bearing walls were begging to be solid and appear to be in a process of becoming, revealed from the earth with the same horizontally of the geological layers of rock surrounding the site. As I explored the site further I was thrilled to see that the spot was historically appreciated by Native American cultures of the area throughout the ages. Pottery shards abound on this site. I found a piece from the top of an old pot and held it out in my extended arm against the proposed building site and imagined it as a wall of the house. Pots do not simply flare out, they flare in at the top as well, as the piece in my hand confirmed. That shape, as a wall, could be achieved if I used CMU block courses that stepped out and then back in at the top to counter balance itself. I knew then to use that shape for the load baring walls. The concave nature of the walls provided a space for insulating the interior side of the block... and the design just kept becoming from there. 
Bruce Goff always appreciated the Balinese word ‘Kebyar’ which translates as the process of becoming- like a flower slowly budding and then finally becoming the flower that it is. Following Goff’s lead, I strive to make my designs embody that sense of becoming, that sense of what is around the next edge to discover. 建築家

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