arts entertainmentArchitecture

How to live high in Santa Fe: a look at stunning modern homes in the desert city

Critic Mark Lamster weighs in on a new book about the immodestly modest architecture of Dallas’ favorite getaway.

About halfway through Helen Thompson’s Santa Fe: Contemporary Design in the High Desert (Monacelli, $50), there’s a section of black-and-white photographs, printed on uncoated stock, that depicts the rocky, wide-open landscape that for millennia has inspired builders in what we now call New Mexico.

Those images provide both a context and a striking contrast to the sumptuous, chromatic images of this collection of residential architecture. Drawing on the beige ground, blue sky, and reddish, adobe forms of the Puebla, the twenty projects illustrated represent a distinct Santa Fe style, low and open to the land, modest and yet immodest at once.

Works by numerous Texas architects are included here, including a glassed pavilion by Midland’s Rhotenberry Wellen and a sharply detailed getaway by Austin’s Larry Speck.

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