Albuquerque, NM - Residential
2005, 1600 square feet

The new addition (1,600 sq. ft.) is a master bedroom suite (900 sq. ft.) and a large art and architecture studio (700 sq. ft.).  The addition uses green materials, passive solar design elements, and extra insulation for energy efficiency.  The construction is a study in new materials mixed with old building traditions, local materials and transitional spaces between indoor and outdoor areas.

The type of construction is a hybrid of rammed earth, sandy-clay soil mixed with 5% concrete and a structurally insulated panel system (SIPS), foam bonded to composite wood panels. A minimal amount of wood structural members are used, mostly for interior stud partitions and glu-lam beams. The entire south wall is an aluminum and glass storefront system.  The SIPS are used to form the roof and east walls, the earth wall forms the west wall that marks the transition line between old and new. The north wall of the studio is a large garage door with glazing for north light. The floors are made of polished concrete slabs.  Most all of the materials double as structural elements and the finish materials with minor surface applications of paint, stain and natural clay plaster.

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The rammed earth structure was the first to be given a permit within the City limits of Albuquerque.  The walls are a minimum 2 feet thick and have openings and recesses carved out of them for practical use and sculptural effect. The clear sealed earth walls are left exposed for a sensual connection to the ground made into shelter. The earth walls are located on the west side of the addition to form courtyard spaces between the original house and new rooms and to block the low west sun in the hot months from entering the addition. The remaining walls are made from structurally rigid insulation and wood fiber panels with plaster applied to both sides. The insulation value provided is higher than required.  The addition requires less than 50% of the normal heating and cooling requirements.

A steel stair leads up to the existing second story balcony and new deck from the main courtyard garden below created below.  The deck was formed atop the interior breezeway between old and new structures. It is an ideal spot for entertaining or as an observation deck for above the treetop views of the Sandia and Mountains to the northeast.  A second, intimate courtyard off the dining room is used as a breakfast garden and has a north wall made of climbing vines.