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BART PRINCE
Fu Residence - 2007
Rio Rancho, New Mexico

 
The Fu Residence was conceived as a series of incidents located along an elongated portal, raised high off the desert floor. I had seen pictures of this house and did not expect to find something I liked when I visited it. In pictures the building appears crisp and white against the desert sky, and feels alien to the landscape. However, the longer I spent walking around this building the more it seemed to make sense. The building is not white as the pictures suggest, but a cream colour, and the exterior surfaces are textured by sand. From the dry creek bed below it, the building looks like some sort of desert insect; harsh, sharp and rugged. It felt like it had thin insect like legs, and it let the tumble weeds roll by beneath it. From a car the building looks like a centipede, frozen so it won’t be noticed. In a site that is only desert and sky, this building chooses the sky, yet it clings to the desert as if knows that is where it belongs.

The house plan is arranged in a large arc and acts as a hemicycle. The great height that living spaces are raised above the ground allows for much better access to prevailing winds which help cool the structure. The frame of the building; which feels somewhat like an exoskeleton, extends beyond the structure and dissolves into space. This helps make the interior spaces feel as though they are extending out over the desert. The close quarters of the portal hallway, with eye height windows on both sides, and with the steel portal frames running from the exterior into the interior, reminds the occupants of how small and light their enclosure is when compared to the endless space of the New Mexico desert.


Copyright 2013.        Andrew T Boyne Architect.        A: 69 Stanley St Nedlands 6009 Western Australia        P: 0423601604         E: architect@andrewtboyne.com