Located in the arid desert of the San Rafael Valley, Arizona, Casa Caldera by DUST is a unique object in the vast landscape. In this video, architects Jesus Robles and Cade Hayes explain their project as viewers are taken on a vivid tour of the building and site. The camera moves through the desert, unveiling the house gradually, as one would truly experience it.
“One of the unique things about Casa Caldera is the experience of the approach,” Hayes says. “Two hours of travel are actually part of the experience of arriving. It isn’t until you are 20, 30 feet from the house that you get a good look.”
Isolated and uninhabited most of the year, the building exists off the grid. Its few power needs are supplied by solar panels and a fire place. The entire home is passively cooled with the use of a vernacular “zaguan” space – openings are designed around this main ventilator to move the warm and cool air.
“You have to sail the house – find where the predominant winds are coming from,” says Robles. “Open certain windows, get the hot moving the cold.”
The video closes with both architects reflecting on their experience of working on the project. The two explain the advantages of working onsite and inhabiting the space, allowing for a far more intimate understanding of the project than architects typically have.
“We were very focused on the tactile,” says Hayes. “That first touch as you arrive and the last as you leave – those moments that may not be conscious, but may be left with you later.”