Abiquiu House / Anderson Anderson Architecture


Architects: Anderson Anderson Architecture
Location: New Mexico,
Collaborators: Birgitte Ginge, Madeline Williams
Project Area: 1,900 sq ft
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: Anderson Anderson Architecture

Designed for an anthropologist and a concert pianist, retiring from Phoenix, Arizona, to this small New Mexico town on a desert site fronting the Rio Chama—not far from Georgia O’Keefe’s famous home on the bluff above this house uses several relatively standard prefabrication systems. SIPs are used for the wall panels only, while the roof and floors are constructed of prefabricated 2×4 long-span trusses. Although it was originally intended to use panels as the roof and floor structure as well, the house was switched shortly before construction to a truss system to simplify the assembly and to reduce the structural lumber splines required in the long spans of the panels.

floor plans
© Anderson Anderson Architecture

The owners have a number of animals, dogs and cats and occasional injured strays that they were concerned with protecting from the prevalent local hawks, eagles, coyotes, and rattlesnakes. Rather than compromise the design with the addition of a retrofitted chain link dog run, we developed a thoroughly integrated animal house. For budget reasons, local contextualism, and appropriately barnyard practicality, we settled on chain link as a major material system for the house, protecting domestic animals and people from other animals or from accidental falls from the upper terraces.

© Anderson Anderson Architecture

Chain link is an ingenious prefabricated system that can be rolled out and hung from above like curtains, stretched and bolted to the walls and frames with large, round, specially cut steel washers that can be inexpensively manufactured in quantity and made available as modular parts in the system. In some places the chain link stands away from the house, providing enclosure to exterior living spaces, and in other areas it hugs tight to the steel-siding-clad wall surfaces, providing visual continuity and textural relief to the large flat planes while at the same time providing a trellis for creeping plants that will grow up from the ground to further soften the profile of the house.

Cite: "Abiquiu House / Anderson Anderson Architecture" 24 Jul 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 20 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=70164>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    What a wonderful house. Very well considered, intelligent and sensitive. I love the proportions, and considering it’s a shiny metal house it integrates beautifully into the landscape. I would like to see more interior shots. Bravo!

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Looks like a pimped-out cage for the monkeys at the zoo. I want to meet this anthropologist…

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It’s a cage for people. Monkeys wouldn’t like it.
    I wonder how it is going to look … say in 3 years… Can you imagine the beauty?

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      It will look great; these initially gleaming, galvanized structures over time develop a wonderful pewter patina or “lead-coated,” soft, muted appearance.

      I like a lot about this structure, but would have loved to see more of the interior rather than illustrations of some daylight modeling software.

      The narrative refers to chainlink while what was used was welded-wire mesh; a much more attractive look.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It’s the first class design. And metal isn’t always a cage or a prison material. It corresponds the design style here and makes a nice feeling. In fact everything seems to be in place.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I don’t understand why bad critique is not accepted on this site. Bad or good critique are good for constructive ideas. I accept even the bad critique, because I understand that somebody can see or understand better than I do. So please leave and the bad critique.
    Thank you!

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