Andrew Michler

Minimalist Adobe Brick Home is a Box Within a Box

by , 05/04/10

Marpha Texas TX, Minimalist Adobe home, Mudbrick home, green building, high performance, courtyard, old and new design

A box within a box, this simple house composed of mud bricks formed into a contemporary structure is an elegant synthesis of old and new. Built in Marfa, Texas, a town better known for the artist Donald Judd’s boxes than its dwellings, the Mud House stands out as a Zen-like oasis. Oakland-based Rael San Fratello Architecture designed the home with simplicity in mind to keep costs low while maintaining a high level of energy efficiency. Read on to learn how they did it.

Marpha Texas TX, Minimalist Adobe home, Mudbrick home, green building, high performance, courtyard, old and new design

Rael San Fratello Architecture‘s concept was to build this one bedroom house using traditional adobe mud bricks. Adobe bricks are an ideal sustainable building material for regions that are hot and not prone to earthquakes. They also offer excellent insulation — as it gets pretty hot in southern Texas, not having to install AC is a great financial benefit.

For the lower portion, dense bricks that can withstand water and weight were brought in from New Mexico. The lighter colored bricks set above the concrete lintels weigh less and were sourced just across the border in Mexico. The lintels subtly break the monolithic, locally-sourced, mud plastered walls.

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3 Comments

  1. sarahlovesissac May 31, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    this is gorgeous, genius.

  2. Lifeisgood May 5, 2010 at 11:02 am

    The simple life can be beautiful.

  3. the bystander May 5, 2010 at 10:50 am

    may be a bit off topic… now I know what “adobe” means

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