Brittlebush / Simon De Aguero

Courtesy of

Brittlebush was developed as a design-build experience for Simón De Agüero, graduate student, designer, and project manager. The design is an experimental desert dwelling for winter residents at Taliesin, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Simón envisioned the design to be an open-air living space with protective roof and walls for the sleeping area.

Approximately 90% of the in the project was salvaged from the school scrap yard; 100% of the rammed earth for the walls was from the school property; 100% of the wood used for the formwork was salvaged from onsite renovation waste.

Follow the break for more images and information about Brittlebush.

Architect: Simon De Aguero
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona, United States
Assistant Project Manager: Erik Krautbauer
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Simon de Aguero & Saskia Jorda

Courtesy of Simon De Aguero

A steel structure was designed to frame three-inch rammed earth walls surrounding a patio, fireplace, and bed. The masts and anchors on the structure can adaptively accommodate a 150 square-foot roof membrane of either shade-cloth or vinyl.


The bed platform is situated above a fireplace for passive winter heating. This design concept includes an indoor-outdoor terrace for drinks with friends, or a quiet retreat to sit down and read a book. The social patio has three chairs and a meditative zen garden, all designed to integrate with the larger whole.

Courtesy of Simon De Aguero

The structure can be visited on the student-led Taliesin West Desert Shelter Tour on Saturdays at 1:30 pm from mid-November through mid-April.

Project Team: Nathaniel Allen, Dakotah Apostolou, Thai Blackburn, Jillian Brooks, William Brunson, Chelsea Clark, Emil Crystal, Simón De Agüero, Matthew Dickerson, Daniel Dillow, Dave Frazee, Saul Glass-Siegel, Jeff Graham, Christopher Gritzmacher, Saskia Jorda, Aaron Kadoch, Erik Krautbauer, Annett Marsico, Marietta Paglakou, Todd Lehmenkuler, Austin Mahoney, Russell Mahoney, Brian Maxwell, Marli Post, Taryn Seymour, Skye Whitman, Chris Williams, Hui Ee Wong

Cite: Minner, Kelly. "Brittlebush / Simon De Aguero" 26 Oct 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • Fernando

    This is so refreshing.

  • Simon

    Not mentioned but essential to the project was the Help of