The work of DUST Architects presents as an entrancing study in contrasts: Levitating between light and heavy, earthbound and celestial, it appears simultaneously ancient and modern.
It is architecture that smoothly accomplishes one of the most enduring aspirations of many exurban residential designers. With it DUST creates buildings that rise out of the surrounding landscape as if somehow seeded and then coaxed from the earth by the giant hands of a gargantuan invisible gardener.
And although it probably amounts to blasphemy to assign characteristics of spirituality to non-religious structures there is, nevertheless, an echo that issues from DUST’s work that is noticeably and unmistakably sacred. It’s pulled forth from the walls by the probity of simple materials that have been attentively handled, the laving of broad interior surfaces with great waves of clear desert light refresh and excite the soul, and an insistence upon simple tectonic solutions that - in their extreme economy express a monastic elegance - gentles the spirit. These are projects that command respect primarily because they do not demand respect.
That their structures are responsive to and responsible about the ecosystem reflects the Southwestern origins of the firm’s principals. Cade Hayes and Jesús Robles’ roots in the region are continually displayed in their comfort with the demands of the harsh subtropical desert as well as is their familiarity with its myriad climatological and geological delights, which have been routinely showcased in every opportunity they have to build. Sustainability and environmentally sensitive building are not add-ons in Dust projects; they are starting points. Such was their commitment to the conservation of site vegetation that only three cacti were displaced in the construction of the 3650 square feet Tucson Mountain Retreat house.
Both men were educated at Texas Tech, with Hayes eventually going on to work for Rick Joy Architects as Robles was mastering the craft of building and design while in the employ of various builders and architects. They share a fathoms deep commitment to place, process, and materiality that is evident in everything that they put their four hands to.