The Buddhist Retreat is a striking home outside of Torrey, Utah with views towards Capital Reef National Park. Designed by Salt Lake-based Imbue Design, the home was created to be a desert sanctuary for Tibetan Buddhists. Respecting the surrounding site and its views, the home sits in harmony with its environment and provides a sacred space for quiet reflection. In addition, the materials and design work to minimize energy use and impact while a photovoltaic system provides electricity.
Designing a desert retreat that respects its environment is difficult enough, but to build one that is also a Buddhist sanctuary is another feat entirely. The client, a business woman from Salt Lake City, tasked Imbue Design to build an eco-friendly home that was as much intertwined with the surrounding landscape as it was with her practices. The vacation home had to provide space for quiet meditation, small retreats and a space for working when she was in residence.
Located above a verdant desert valley just outside of Capital Reef National Park in Grover, UT, the home is situated to make the most of the stunning views. One approaches the home from above, which is topped with an expansive deck made from durable IPE wood that covers the home and doubles as space for observation and meditation. The office sits at this level and looks out over the landscape. Stairs lead down into the main floor with a master suite, guest room and open floor kitchen and dining space. A red spiral staircase connects the floors from the inside. Covered patios outside the ground floor provide additional outdoor living space or meditation areas with sliding glass doors to connect it to the interior.
The desert climate is warm and dry and often only shade is needed to create pleasant temperatures. When it does get hot, the home is cooled naturally via stack effect and an operable skylight at the top of the staircase expels hot air from the top and fresh cool air is brought in via low operable windows. The 1,350 sq ft home does not have AC and also makes use of energy efficient appliances and systems. Gabion basket walls filled with volcanic rock sourced on site frame the sides of the homes and serve as thermal mass to slow the collection and release of heat. Materials were sourced locally wherever possible and chosen for their durability and connection to nature. Finally the home features a photovoltaic system on the roof of the office to power the home.
Images ©Imbue Design