DUST: tucson mountain retreat, arizona
DUST: tucson mountain retreat, arizona DUST: tucson mountain retreat, arizona
may 03, 2013

DUST: tucson mountain retreat, arizona

‘tucson mountain retreat’ by DUST, sonoran desert, tucson, arizonaimage © jeff goldberg / esto




the sonoran desert is mystical landscape replete with warm hues and expanses of arid-appropriate greenery. among the eroded sculptures of rocky outcroppings and complex reliefs of nearby arroyos, a rammed earth home designed by local firm DUST lightly touches the landscape. the tucson-based architecture, construction and fabrication team comprised of jesus robles and cade hayes, has imbued their first project with the sacred weight of the landscape. the home values its approach through a winding desert path of lush desert plants until the architecture emerges from the harsh scenery dotted with cacti and palo verde, a native desert shrub. the entryway is series of concrete volumes that dissolve into the desert floor, yet playfully lead to the quiet aperture of the glazed front space. the rammed earth construction creates meandering lateral lines across the planes of the house, serving to refer to both a topographic horizon and the richly layered skin of the earth within and throughout that structure.

view of an exterior slab against the palette of the mystical arizona skyimage © jeff goldberg / esto




the fragile environment is respected both actually and visually, with moments of bilateral glazing affording uninterrupted lines of sight into the golden, arid terrain while also providing ample cross-ventilation. additionally, an upper deck further allows the inhabitant to further internalize the dazzling, dusty stretch of terrain as the oranges of the sunset give way to the warm purple-blues of the night sky. the very materials of the dwelling draw from the power of fire; interior walls selectively use the ‘shou sugi ban’ siding technique, a japanese method wherein charred cedar is used to preserve wood. alabaster cladding and tiles complete the warm palette of the bathrooms, often open to the elements, while the rest of the home is filled with the warm squares of the afternoon sun.

playful concrete volumes rise from the dusty ground to the entranceimage © jeff goldberg / esto

the top level ‘sky hall’ allows uninterrupted views of the sonoran desertimage © jeff goldberg / esto

(right) charred cedar is used as cladding / image © bill timmerman(left) the charred wood lines the spiral stair to the top observatory / image © jeff goldberg / esto

living room extends into the arid  landscapeimage © jeff goldberg / esto

bedroom viewimage © jeff goldberg / esto

the bedroom and bathroom are enclosed by a flexible system of sliding doors and alabaster-clad bathrooms complete the warm material schemeimage © jeff goldberg / esto

clear view through the house’s hub of activity and an exemplary display of an overall symmetry in elevationimage © jeff goldberg / esto


site planimage courtesy of DUST /architects list



floor planimage courtesy of DUST /architects list



section image courtesy of DUST /architects list

  • I like the way this retreat constructed. The entrance is amazing.

    courtesy says:
  • amazing house.

    kukubee says:
  • nice to see quiet design……….very elegant…..but, do you have to go outside of the building to get into the bedrooms?…plan showed no internal connection (unless I totally missed it)

    j herschman says:
  • As a fellow Arizonan – Brilliant!
    Wonderful sense of materiality, space, light, view and privacy.
    Award recognition is just around the corner…..

    Mike Jackson says:
  • Beautiful building, although having lived in Tucson, I can’t help but wonder about all the desert creatures happily joining you for a shower or nap. Those scorpions and tarantulas aren’t much fun.

    Mattia says:
  • seems like Dust and Rick Joy should team up

    faftaichi says:
  • the lines the rammed earth create harmony to blend into the landscape, truly inspirational

    Allan says:
  • really nice. all of the previous comments are good. no neighbours please. I hope the owner bought the surrounding 20,000 hectares or the property is backing onto a protected area.

    Richard says:
  • How can it be that even in a such a house, in such a setting, people still want those pearlescent mosaic tiles in their bathroom…?

    OOK says:
  • Just wonderfull architecture and the use of earth as the great element. I love rammed earth construction. Excelent combination of light, colors and decoration. My congratulations to Dust and Jesus Robles and Cade hayes.

    Guillermo García N. says:
  • Great work, great landscape, great atmosfere!

    myface says:
  • Charred Cedar on the walls……..amazing.

    Nicholaus says:
  • very nice …simple modern fresh design…must be a sophisitcated client, …What are they doing in Arizona with the death penalty and the worst public education in the USA ?

    Mark deShong says:
  • Amazing architecture. It is one of a kind and just fitting for the environment for which it is erected with. The most prominent thing that popped up in my mind though is the cost. This sort of house probably costs thousands or even millions.

    Thomas Saenz says:
  • Very nice !!! Live in beauty

    paulo dias says:

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