West Mesa House
Albuquerque, New Mexico



Located on Albuquerque’s West Mesa, the residence takes advantage of the topographical features particular to its location. By opening to the east, the Rio Grande foregrounds the city and the Sandia Mountains beyond. This siting allows the house to turn its back to the western desert sun, dust and wind.

Designed in a three-level split configuration, the house progresses vertically from the garage to the main living spaces and to the master suite. Visitors enter by way of a grand exterior stair announced by terraced planters and an overhead bridge. A sheltered court receives the visitors, orienting them to the entrance.

The entry is positioned on the main living level. Entering into the hub of activity, the kitchen is central in the open layout, and separates public and semi-private spaces in this level. The living room commands expansive views to the east as the recessed aperture filters the morning light and animates the space throughout the day. A cast-in-place concrete fireplace is the home’s anchoring element. Visually separate from the rest of the home in color and mass, the fireplace functions as a social axis; it is also the structure that supports the north end of the bridge/terrace, linking function and formalistic elements that anchor the home to the site.

Bi-level terraces, oriented to these views, extend the livable space of the living room and master bedroom. The terraces, featuring descending bleachers, mask the adjacent development and provide flexible spaces for entertainment. The semi-public areas to the west of the kitchen include a large study and a guest suite. The lower level provides spaces for the owners’ gardening interest and other leisure time activities. A potting room allows the owner exterior access through the garage. The vertical progression of the home continues to control levels of privacy as one ascends from the living space to the master suite. The birch cabinetwork throughout the home defines spaces and controls privacy while accommodating the owners’ functional requirements.