Residential Retreat (Santa Fe, NM)
A private residence on the peak of a six-acre site in north Santa Fe, New Mexico with panoramic views of the Rockies’ Sangre de Cristo Mountain range to the immediate east and to the distant north.
Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range
Roof Plan // Upper Floor Plan // Lower Floor Plan
The building’s orthogonal layout is excavated into the east side of the site’s peak, and oriented to the site’s main vistas. The site’s bare beige soil landscape is scattered with small succulent shrubbery, and illuminated in a rosy hue of sunlight. The project’s material palette is calibrated to this context, with sandy rammed earth, pale millennial pink stucco, polished light grey concrete, matte aluminum window frames, light birch woodwork, and brass hardware. The formal and material configuration of the project seeks to blur the boundaries between architecture and environ: the planometric zigzagging and sectional stepping of the building’s topography sunken into the site’s hill; the earthen retaining walls integrating the building into the landscape; the tone of woodwork harmonizing with the earthen walls; the pink stucco heightening the inherent qualities of the local sunlight; the Modernist functionality of expansive glass windows and sliding doors, enabling the membranous exchange of light, vision, and air.
Approached from the west, the building appears buried in the landscape, and is entered through the protruding volumes of a two-car garage and a pedestrian tunnel. This leads to the building’s main floor, which is bifurcated into communal spaces to the right, and private spaces to the left. The ceilings of all primary spaces, both communal and private, are lined with exposed wood beams.
The east façade of the communal space is lined with large glass panels that frame the near mountain view. The entry area has ample closet space for coats and outdoor equipment, as well as a small tech. closet. The kitchen-dining space provides a generous amount of built-in wood cabinetry, and can seat more than a dozen, plus more at the kitchen island. Sliding glass panels open this space to an eastern patio for outdoor dining and lounging. An adjacent sunken living space has a built-in bench surround, with shelving lining the back wall. A suspended fireplace floats in front of a glass wall, which looks out onto a small pool nestled into the east side of the site’s hill. The pool is terraced, with a shallow seating area, a deeper standing bar area, and an even deeper lap area that has a seamless edge looking out to the mountains. Portions of the patio and pool areas are shaded under a wooden pergola.
From the entry area, a hallway lit by a row of small square skylights leads to two minor bedrooms and a laundry room, and terminates on the residence’s primary bedroom, which includes an outdoor shower. A staircase on-axis with the entry tunnel descends to a spacious additional bedroom. Each of the residence’s four bedrooms have east- and/or north-facing views, and ensuite bathrooms. The two larger bedrooms have double-sink vanities, separated toilet spaces, walk-in closets, and private patios that also serve as independent access-egress points.
Anticipating the inevitability of change over time, the building is designed to be materially durable yet programmatically flexible: the project is planned as a family reunion retreat destination that can transition into a primary residence for a future generation. There are preliminary plans for the addition of a studio-suite further down the eastern side of the site’s hill.