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See this remarkable rammed earth house nestled on a Texas ranch

rammed earth ranch house exterior

Lake|Flato Architects have designed this extraordinary rammed earth house that acts as insulation against the harsh climate of the desert in Marfa, Texas. The dwelling’s two-foot-thick walls were constructed into a courtyard design to passively provide both cooling and heating effects.

Nestled between the formidable Chihuahuan Desert and the grandeur of the Davis Mountains, Marfa, a modest community focused on ranching and art, finds itself in the heart of the vast, unspoiled desert grasslands of far west Texas. Just a stone’s throw beyond the town’s borders, on an expansive ranch, lies the “Marfa Ranch”—a place of raw beauty and almost perfect seclusion.

DESIGN DETAILS: ARCHITECT Lake|Flato Architects GENERAL CONTRACTOR Pilgrim Building Company STRUCTURAL ENGINEER MJ Structures LANDSCAPE DESIGN Ten Eyck Landscape Architects LIGHTING DESIGN Mazzetti MILLWORK DESIGN Flitch RAMMED EARTH Enabler Austin

rammed earth ranch house in the desert

The architects employed three million pounds of earth to create the rammed earth walls, selected to establish harmony with the surrounding landscape. This material was used for both the structure and the finishes.

rammed earth ranch house exterior

Drawing inspiration from the region’s earliest architectural heritage, the house’s rooms are thoughtfully arranged around a courtyard, providing a refreshing oasis shielded from the sun-soaked desert grasslands that stretch beyond its walls.

rammed earth ranch house covered entry

Situated beneath the shade of indigenous mesquite trees, the courtyard’s ambiance is enhanced by a central fountain replenished by collected rainwater, adding an oasis-like feel to this outdoor room.

rammed earth ranch house exterior

Employing walls of rammed earth, two feet in thickness, the house remains cool during the hot summers and warm through the winter chill.

rammed earth ranch house entry

This energy-efficient structure warmly embraces the vast landscape, incorporating airy breezeways and porches repurposed from discarded oil field pipes.

rammed earth ranch house exterior

Perched on a gentle elevation, commanding panoramic vistas in every direction, the 5,342 square foot house maintains a low profile, harmoniously melding with its arid environment.

rammed earth ranch house exterior

The thick walls shield the dwelling from the region’s extremes—the heat, cold, and wind—while the breezeways and a viewing platform atop the main bedroom connect visitors with the breathtaking panorama that lies beyond.

modern living room with a fireplace

What We Love: This spectacular ranch house provides its inhabitants with a fabulous connection to the desert landscape. The rammed earth walls and wood ceilings help to bring warmth to the coldness of the concrete flooring. We are especially loving the way the water tank outside was converted into a swimming pool, a refreshing way to cool off in the harsh desert summers.

Tell Us: What are your overall thoughts on the design of this rammed earth house in Texas? Let us know in the Comments below!

Note: Be sure to check out a couple of other amazing rammed earth home tours that we have highlighted here on One Kindesign: Tour this amazing rammed earth home nestled in the Texas Hill Country and Gorgeous contemporary mountain cabin nestled in the Canadian Rockies.

modern kitchen

modern kitchen

modern dining room

modern dining room

modern living room with a fireplace

modern home bar

modern living room with a fireplace

modern bedroom

modern bedroom with a fireplace

Above: The bedroom features a fireplace for warmth and opens out to a private patio with views of the surrounding desert landscape.

modern bathroom with a soaking tub

rammed earth ranch house outdoor shower

rammed earth ranch house covered porch with a fireplace

rammed earth ranch house with an outdoor porch and fireplace

rammed earth ranch house sliding barn door to the outdoor patio

Above: Weathered steel doors glide open, revealing extra semi-outdoor living spaces beyond.

rammed earth ranch house exterior staircase

rammed earth ranch house with an outdoor porch and fireplace

modern artist studio with a skylight

modern artist studio with a skylight

rammed earth ranch house hallway

rammed earth ranch house covered pathway

rammed earth ranch house pool and hot tub

Above: At the end of the long boardwalk, an existing water tank now serves as a pool, courtesy of the architect’s transformation.

rammed earth ranch house porch

rammed earth ranch house exterior

rammed earth ranch house in the desert

rammed earth ranch house in the desert

PHOTOGRAPHER Casey Dunn Photography

rammed earth ranch house site plan

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