Bridgette Meinhold

Eco Wellness Retreat Lets You Unwind in Beautiful Rammed Earth Guesthouses

by , 01/12/11

miraval, mithun, rammed earth, desert architecture, green building, sustainable architecture

Among the many projects that Mithun worked on for Miraval are the guestrooms, which make use of simple, natural and durable materials suited for the desert environment. The buildings are constructed of rammed earth, which serves as thermal mass keeping the interior cool during the day and emitting heat at night. Clay adobe bricks were made on site with local materials and used to build the outdoor showers, while branches from local saplings were used to screen in the mechanical areas. Decomposed granite paths meander throughout the resort and aid in drainage during the rainy season.

Facing south and the Catalina Mountains, the guest rooms take advantage of solar passive design and the views in one fell swoop. Large overhangs provide shade for the interiors and operable windows allow for natural ventilation. The roofs are coated with a high-albedo roof coating, which decreases solar energy absorption, and at the same time, solar hot water systems soak up the energy to provide hot water for guests.

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4 Comments

  1. myia.garrett@gmail.com August 13, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful

  2. DeborahTaylor January 14, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    I must say I was fortunate enought to spend 5 day last May in one of these rooms/suites and it was total luxury. The view into the mountains and the beautiful cactus was so relaxing. If not for the fact that I was at Miraval and had so many things to experiance I could have spent most of my time comfortably in the room.

  3. kelesney January 13, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    having grown up in denmark and california…and studied architecture in tucson, i have to say that no matter where you might find ‘home’ that attention to detail is important.
    this is a lovely modern example of siting / daylighting and use of materials. not big on the furnishings…but, hey – that’s a personal thing and i respect that aspect of ownership.

  4. lazyreader January 13, 2011 at 8:08 am

    It’s an okay house. Still I see little reason to own a home in the middle of no-where. Why put so much detail and expense as to decor if no one can see it other than you. Locking people out of a museum for instance does not increase it’s patronage.

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