the artistic possibilities
of designing with nature

Upcoming events

January 1, 2024 from 10:45 am

We are extending the display of Robert Shannon's retrospective untill the end of May 2024.  We invite interested partys to contact us and schedule a visit while the broad spectrum of our founder's contribututions are still on full display.  We can be reached at   For more information on the show please click this link.


Design and construct the man-made environment to be in harmony with the natural environment.

Solar Work 1996-2000

Santa Fe, Corner House

A two bedroom house with an additional studio apartment was placed on the site in a large bare spot (only 2 baby pinion trees were moved). Mountain views are in all directions except south, the west endows a spectacular distant "sunset view" . The construction is reinforced concrete block with an EIFS to comply with the strict design covenants. Ironically, it is the only masonry building in the development. The main house is a passive gain system , with an active solar collector feeding the studio apartment on the north end. The geometries are derived from rectangular elements, intersected by curves generated by a 2 story dome in the center of the living space, (color coded yellow-beige for rectangles and chocolate-brown for curves).

The dome was constructed in Vermont and shipped to Santa Fe. It refers to both kiva and teepee forms.The trusses have gussets of a southwest character.

The tiles were designed and made by the architect and ceramicist, Douglas Hough, . The single pattern is based on a fraction of the plan where rectangles and curves meet. By varying the colors and the positioning, differing references could be created for each of the 2 living spaces. Pieces of broken pottery were used to cap the exterior brick wall.

Originally the collector was framed with wood panels and 2 layers of Kallwall glazing material, because the design review committee did not want it to be reflective. After ten years of UV degradation, the panels had become opaque. They were replaced with glass in frames of artificial wood to become functional again. Problems with the overly complicated Delta T controller have yet to be addressed, so at present it is being switched manually. Simple, user friendly, controllers are needed to operated simple systems.

Corner House

The red house, built and sold speculatively to the photographer hired by House Beautiful in '78, was purchase back by the architect to be combined with the long house as an inn. It now supports the work of the Fourth Corner Foundation. The entire interior required major changes in order to add the necessary spaces: private toilet and bathing, private above-grade bedrooms, and an expanded breakfast room. The space of the removed exterior decks was enclosed and cantilevered out to the south. A piece of roof extends horizontally to the north as a symbolic entrance canopy, a remnant reflector from the previous roof flipped downward. Two colors on the exterior denote the private spaces of the rooms from the common areas. A new common deck was added to the west and a deck with escape stair to the north from the top bedroom.

The original tiered set of levels was maintained, with vertical openings on either side of the stair and a cantilevered study on a stair landing that looks out over the breakfast room. The renovation has proven to have an excellent energy performance, with the rock bed continuing to stabilize temperatures both in winter and summer. Interior pictures of the four bedrooms can be seen at along with the other inn building.