Las Cruces

This private residence of rammed earth and adobe construction is sited on a ten-acre parcel of land in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The site is bordered by the rugged Organ Mountains to the east and surrounded by undeveloped desert terrain. The owners wanted a house which would take advantage of the expansive views and reflect the vernacular style and construction techniques of the southwestern desert. The exterior walls are reinforced, 18″ thick compacted earth from the site excavation. The massive south facing walls and quarry tile floors create a passive solar heat sink that moderates the daily temperature swings of the high desert location. In midwinter, a radiant hot water floor system is used for backup heating. Roof mounted evaporative coolers are used for additional summer cooling. The interior finishes include smoothly finished white plaster walls and traditional exposed viga and latilla ceilings. The first phase of construction included living room, kitchen, two bedrooms, bathroom, powder room, and garage. The second phase included a formal dining room, study, bath house, and a guest bedroom and bathroom. The swimming pool and site enclosure, to be constructed in the final phase, will complete the original master plan.


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