Project Description

This project was a design exercise in passive solar and wind applications in a unique site and programmatic setting. The story of the Ancient Pueblo city being destroyed by a volcano in the middle of the Texas desert, the design of the ancient city and placement of the sacred Kiva, is fictional and created solely for the purposes of this design exercise.
Human beings, as early as primitive man, have had an intimate and intuitive connection to nature and astronomy. Their belief systems and traditions revolved around enhancing this connection to nature and learning from how the Earth travelled in relation to the sun; the source of life. Located outside of Marfa, Texas, this Ancient Pueblo Indian city was devastated by a volcano eruption, which buried the city and its inhabitants. Through the work of archaeologists, a small portion of the city was uncovered to reveal that the Kiva, used for their religious ceremonies, was aligned along the path of the sun that reaches its peak above the tri-clustered Kiva during the Summer Solstice. The archaeologist center, visitor center, and ranger’s station are oriented along this axis, determined by the sun and excavated city. The archaeologist center acts as an artifact, being cut into the ground and opening to the dig site at the level of the ancient city floor, creating a connection for the archaeologists and the subject matter they are studying. The ranger’s station is oriented perpendicular to the main axis to create a gateway to the visitor center. As a way of enhancing the visitor experience and create a strong connection to the culture of the ancient people, the visitor center is elevated above the ground and cantilevered over the dig site with a glass floor, overlooking the Kiva and setting sun to the West. This emphasizes the trichotomy between past, present, and future.