Inside Su Casa

Su Casa Magazine

Su Casa's allegiance to Southwestern home design is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the autumn issue, our annual Homes of Enchantment parade Guide and Plan Book, if only because of the sheer number of homes photographed, described, sketched, and otherwise presented in these pages.

This year, 95 homes in and around Albuquerque, New Mexico, are open for inspection during the Homes of Enchantment Parade October 13–28. You can see traditional Pueblo style, Contemporary Southwestern, Southwestern-by-Old-World, Tuscan, Scottsdale . . . nearly any variation on the architecture of our region.

With this much variation, invigorated by the region’s liberal eclecticism, some might wonder just what defines Southwestern home design. In some quarters—particularly where city ordinances carefully circumscribe the appearance of every dwelling in certain areas—a constant feud simmers over what is authentic and what is a cheap forgery of this rich architectural tradition originating with Pueblo Indian and Spanish colonial architecture.

Fortunately, throughout the Southwest far-sighted architects, builders, and designers have looked beyond petty debates, nourishing their inspiration with cues from tradition, global influences, and creative freedom.

As writer V.B. Price explains elsewhere in this issue, the now-famous architect Antoine Predock set out in the late 1960s to design La Luz condominiums on the West Mesa of Albuquerque as a manmade landscape, something that responded to its natural setting without obliterating it. Predock brought postmodern sensibilities to adobe design and


high-density living. You won’t find vigas or Acoma Mission–inspired bell towers, but the place still successfully—and unmistakably—evokes New Mexico’s architectural legacy. It belongs here. La Luz may not look like a pueblo, but it feels like the 20th-century American take on that ancient form.

Looking ahead without forgetting the past is a hallmark of the best Southwestern home design. In their Featured Home of this year’s Homes of Enchantment Parade, the Strosnider Company has applied the energy-saving, waste-reducing, environmentally friendly principles of the Building America Program to a luxurious custom home. The research-based program, backed by the U.S. Department of Energy, specifies construction practices that will drastically reduce homeowners’ utility bills and give them healthy indoor air to breathe. The program also cuts construction waste, which keeps junk out of landfills and reduces the need for limited raw materials, like wood. The Strosnider house proves a lovely, $680,000 home can meet the rigorous performance tests required for Building America certification.

But there’s more than high-tech energy conservation going on in the brave new world of 21st century Southwestern design. Visually, increasing eclecticism of style seems inevitable—you’ll see it in Lancor Enterprises hacienda-style home, the other Featured Home in this year’s Parade.

Borrowing from much farther afield are the Tom Worrell homes in Taos, which he has lovingly restored architecturally, then finished with exotic interior design. Brilliant Caribbean colors and geometric African patterns spring off the simple massing of two classic Taos adobe homes. Worrell has restored them with the signature pedimented lintels, kiva fireplaces, and muted earth tone stucco exteriors that typify northern New Mexico style. But, oh boy! Look inside—it’s just a page-turn away. From the evidence in this Su Casa, Southwestern style hasn’t quit evolving yet.