Category: under 5,000 square feet
Marfa Suite is a detached addition which serves as a refuge when family and friends visit West Texas. The suite was envisioned as a loungy art studio, a low-maintenance earthen structure that complements the main house’s original character and espouses the poetic pragmatism of the region’s historic buildings.
"This beautifully executed project strongly conveys a sense of place, utilizing regional construction techniques to thoughtfully craft a series of intimately scaled spaces that draw on the unique context." - Jury Comment
The suite is a series of rooms detached from the main house in a 36-foot by 36-foot square footprint. It requires the owners to engage with their desert gardens and the region’s smells, temperatures, and light qualities every day as they move between structures. Adobe brick, the suite’s primary building material, references Marfa’s history and material culture. The suite’s walls are composed of double-wythe 18-inch-thick compressed earth block walls, which do not require exterior plaster to protect the walls from the environment.
“This beautifully executed project strongly conveys a sense of place, utilizing regional construction techniques to thoughtfully craft a series of intimately scaled spaces that draw on the unique context,” noted the jury.
Deep engagement with the landscape was a critical element in the organization of the suite’s plan. The team incorporated Marfa’s unique light into all of the suite’s spaces, fostering a calm and relaxing atmosphere that features different qualities of light throughout the day. A large skylight above a bed offers intriguing opportunities for stargazing.
While the suite was intended as a retreat for entertaining friends and family after enjoying the ever-chaining light that washes over the vast landscape, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the owners to re-examine their life plans. After packing up their belongings in their primary home in Tennessee, they moved to Marfa full-time. The suite became increasingly important in their lives, providing a calm respite and a place for the owners to work remotely.