Rosa Muerta By Robert Stone

Project Name: Rosa Muerta
Architect: Robert Stone
Location: Joshua Tree, California- open desert site
Completed: January, 2009
Living area: 1300 sqf / 124 sqm
Site area: 2.5 acres / 12,000 sqm

Program: Vacation house – open to the elements: uses shading, thermal mass, solar absorbtion, and breeze flow for temperature regulation.


Our houses are being featured in architecture, design and travel magazines worldwide, but they were not built for a wealthy private patron. . . they were built to share with cool people who want to support and experience new architecture directly and have a great time.

Bajito y suavecito and bad feng shui combine to create a pavillion in the desert that both contrasts and complements its desert location. The house is rooted in modernism, but details are both structural and ornamental with hearts and flowers everywhere. . . all in shades of black. Chrome columns rise from the dirt to support a ceiling plane with thousands of mirror tiles on the underside. The building includes hand made light fixtures, custom cast block and wrought iron screens, and nail-less construction held together by stainless steel pins and rope connections inspired by traditional Japanese building. It is an entirely custom made architectural experiment that could only happen here and now.

Though it has all of the luxuries you could want, the raw beauty of the desert climate is the meditative focal point of this house. The concept of “luxury camping” or “glamping” is brought right to the very edge of luxury. Inspired by modernist pavilions and the infinite entropy of the desert, this building is incredibly sheltering yet always connected to nature. The house is not heated or air-conditioned but takes advantage of the mild weather with an architecture of walls without roofs, and roofs without walls. It offers luxurious amenities while paradoxically remaining connected in a deep way to the elemental rawness of the desert.

The house has a large suite style bedroom. The bed is sheltered by block walls and a black stained wood roof, but planters filled with blooming yuccas on either side are open to the sky and bring desert breezes through at night. There is a glass roofed fully equiped kitchen where you can cook a good meal, a black mirrored vanity with a black glass sink, and a huge shower with a built-in bench and open beams to the sky above.

This is adjoined by an outdoor living room that is cut down into the desert floor and surrounded by a custom formed block-screen wall and ornate wrought iron screens that completely slide open to the surrounding desert. It is equipped with a barbeque and sink for outdoor cooking and catering, an ipod/cd stereo, a huge heated and jetted spa, and a fire pit. All of this is under a mirrored canopy that reflects the fire light, the pool light, and the surrounding sand and sky.

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