Brittlebush -Taliesin West – Simón De Agüero

Just the other week we brought to you the earth packed MUD Hall by the GSD, and today we are coming at you with another amazing green design from the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.  Brittlebush is one the creative housing designs to come out of Taliesin design studio in the past couple years by Simón De Agüero.  The projects design was to create a fully open living space.  Check it out after the jump!

SCHOOL: Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture
STUDENT: Simón De Agüero & Erik Krautbauer
YEAR: 2010

“A writer for the New York Times called the student-designed and built structures at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture perhaps “the hippest dormitory in the world.” The “shelters,” as they are called, dot the natural landscape surrounding the campuses, and are offered to students as options for living while attending school.

Brittlebush is an experimental desert dwelling for winter residents at the Taliesin West campus of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. It was designed and developed by graduate student Simón De Agüero. Simón envisioned the design to be an open-air living space with a protective roof and low walls.

A steel structure frames three-inch rammed-earth walls surrounding a patio, fireplace and bed. The masts and anchors on the structure adaptively accommodate a 150 square-foot roof membrane of shade-cloth or vinyl. The bed platform is situated above a fireplace for passive winter heating. The social patio and meditative zen garden are designed to integrate with the larger whole.

Approximately 90% of the steel in the project was salvaged from the school scrap yard;100% of the earth for the walls was from the school property;100% of the wood used for the formwork was salvaged from onsite renovation waste. This design concept includes an indoor-outdoor terrace for drinks with friends, or a quiet retreat to sit down and read a book.

Erik Krautbauer, a student in the Bachelor program at the School, was the assistant project manager. The project was supervised by Taliesin faculty and fabrication expertise provided by the principals of Tenshon (”

Simón wishes to acknowledge the following participants in the design and construction of Brittlebush:

Nathaniel Allen, Dakotah Apostolou, Thai Blackburn, Jillian Brooks, William Brunson, Chelsea Clark, Emil Crystal, Simon DeAguero, Matthew Dickerson, Daniel Dillow, Dave Frazee, Saul Glass-Siegel, Jeff Graham, Christopher Gritzmacher, Saskia Jorda, Aaron Kadoch, Erik Krautbauer, Annett Marsico, Marietta Pagkalou, Todd Lehmenkuler, Austin Mahoney, Russell Mahoney, Brian Maxwel,, Marli Post, Taryn Seymour, Skye Whitman, Chris Williams, Hui Ee Wong

Special thanks to project supporters:

Tenshon (Membrane Fabrication)
GaliPacific (Fabric Manufacturer)
Art installation by Saskia Jorda
Diane Karp
Jane and Curtis Himes
Bob and Gretchin Ravenscroft
Kim Hurtado

The structure can be visited on the student-led Taliesin West Desert Shelter Tour, Saturdays at 1:30, mid-November through mid-April.

All Images and Text via


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