We were given the opportunity to name the road that leads to the Burnside residence, which sits on a 25-acre property. We named it “Sendero de Luz”, or “Path of Light” – an apt description of the underlying theme of the house. Its orientation on the ridge, the nature of the fenestration, the rooms wrapped around an open courtyard – all were determined with this idea of light being a form-defining element. The square two-foot thick stone courtyard wall with thin skylights surrounding it, oriented to the cardinal directions, is the element that most reveals the building’s connection to the arc of the sun.
The overall organization is complemented with an aesthetic that takes the typical Santa Fe style architecture and integrates a lean almost Zen-like simplicity to the range of materials and details. European beech is used as the only wood species, from floors and doors to veneer cabinetry with ebony striped inlay that is accentuated with sandblasted glass cabinet doors. Large rough boulders in the landscape give way to tightly fit stone veneer on the walls of the courtyard within which are steps made from Mexican cobblestone. As one enters the house, the floor transitions to the feel of honed Spanish and Portuguese limestone tile floors. Kirkstone, slate and polished granite counter tops complete the range of refined stone in the house.
Pure geometric forms established the plan, the use of authentic materials set the tone and nature was abstracted to highlight and contrast the house. An important aspect of nature is light and in New Mexico, at this site, the clarity of that light plays across natural materials, celebrating the restrained expression of craftsmanship. The home becomes a stone vessel of light.