Site size: 8 acres

Project size: 3,600 square feet

Program: The architects sunk the front of the house into the earth; guests enter through a recessed courtyard into a private vestibule. Once inside, panoramic views of the Sangre de Christos Mountains are revealed. Cantilevered roofs shade glazed walls, creating porches around the perimeter.

Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Solution: The house was designed to become part of its surrounding environment. It is organized around large concrete walls that extend into the landscape. Natural light is a major element—a narrow skylight runs the entire length of one of the house’s walls, casting shadows that change throughout the day on the rough concrete.

Construction and materials: Materials are simple and reflect traditional local construction, but have a more contemporary expression. The roof system is closed cell foam. The building is very much influenced by site climate and energy/water use. The primary walls are solid concrete and the skylights are oriented to allow absorption and blocking of solar gain to maximal effect. Deep portals, or porches, shade the perimeter glazing, reducing direct heat gain. A large photovoltaic array provides nearly all power for the house, and all lighting is LED. Rainwater is collected in large tanks for irrigation and non-potable use. Perimeter walls are insulated concrete form ICF construction, providing durability, fire resistance, and thermal performance. The house is dug into the earth, creating recessed exterior courtyards and additionally moderating thermal performance.

Additional Information

Completion dateJune 2016

Gross square footage: 3,600 square feet





Specht Architects
3500 Oakmont Blvd., Ste. 101
Austin TX 78731


Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:

Scott Specht:  Architect & Designer
Mary Stuckert:  Project Manager & Designer


Architect of record:

Scott Specht


Interior designer:

At Home, Inc. (Norine Hayes)



Structural:  QPEC or Quiroga-Pfeiffer Engineering (David GrabCivil:  Walker Engineering


General contractor:

Wolf Corp. (John Wolf, John Jones, Nat Sena)



Taggart Sorenson & Casey Dunn



Landscape: James David

Lighting: Rotman & Associates, Inc.

Other: Solar Energy consultant:  Positive Energy Solar (Thomas Gray)
Water Management consultant:  Water Management, Inc. (Richard Jennings)
HVAC:  Anbderson Mechanical (Robert Stockton)
Irrigation Contractor:  Earthwrights Designs, Dirtwrights Technologies (Riuchard Jennings)
Landscape Contractor:  Wilder Landscaping, Inc. (Richard Wilder)
Audio Visual:  Wiring Solutions NM LLC (Kirk Willford)
Cabinetry:  Chaves Woodworking (Mark Chavez)
Tile contractor:  Sierra Del Sol LLC (Michael Hernandez)
Windows:  Sunwest, Inc. (Ra Patterson)





Structural System

Load bearing board form concrete walls, glulam beams (exposed), insulated concrete forms, steel columns & beams @ window wall, premanufactured truss, slab on grade, mtl stvd interior walls

Manufacturer of any structural components unique to this project: Build block (ICF), APA wood (glulam), SantaFe Steel

Exterior Cladding

Metal/glass curtain wall: Cardinal Glass

Wood: White Oak

Curtain wall: Fleetwood storefront windows & doors

Other cladding unique to this project: Cementitous stucco by El Ray


Built-up roofing: Closed cell foam roof system


Entrances: Fleetwood


Locksets: Emtek Stuffart Door Handles

Other special hardware: Hettich Track Hardware

Interior Finishes

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Chavez Woodworking

Paints and stains: Minwax, Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams

Wall coverings: Philip Jeffries

Raised flooring: Board form concrete

Special interior finishes unique to this project: Board form concrete