Crowley House, Marfa, TX (2000-2004)
The house is a one-story structure, whose uniform width threads interior and exterior spaces to create two distinct and protected courtyards. The sheer exposure and vulnerability of the site inspired an architecture of boundaries and limits. Sited on a flat hilltop, the house enjoys sweeping views of the vast Chihuahua desert, from rolling grass dunes to chiseled mountain ranges. The house’s primary building materials are textured concrete block, stucco, poured in place concrete, galvanized steel, ipe wood, and aluminum windows and doors. These were selected to withstand the region’s intense weather conditions. Shade from the harsh afternoon sun and protection from the strong winds guided the positioning of rooms, trellises, canopies, and window and door openings. The interior’s neutral finishes provide a backdrop for the owner’s collection of contemporary art. Newly planted vegetation and trees, most of them native to the area, complement the house’s materiality while blending with the site’s prevailing textures and colors. Partially camouflaged in its setting, the Crowley house asserts its presence without overwhelming the landscape. The house’s interior life is enriched by constant variations in the quality of light throughout the day and into the evening. The experience of moving from one space to another becomes a measured interchange between intimacy and expansiveness, between proximity and distance.