Terlingua, Texas is a former mercury mining colony in a remote section of the Chihuahua Desert, in the far west of the state. It was a boomtown in the early 1900’s, but was mostly deserted by 1949, after most of the mineral had been extracted. By the 1980’s, what was once a crumbling ghost town had found new life as a center of commerce and accommodation for tourists visiting nearby Big Bend National Park. Far Flung Outdoor Center was one of the early arrivals. This project represents an attempt to diversify from its original business of outdoor equipment rental and guided tours into the accommodation market. The client’s primary requests were that the added guest rooms organize themselves around a communal outdoor gathering space, that there be a separate multi-purpose space for lectures and events focused on native ecology, and that this space would serve dual purpose as an entertainment venue. The solution involved the arrangement of four buildings surrounding a common courtyard, tied together with a series of covered porches and verandas to shield guests from the harsh desert sun. The guest rooms were kept simple and spare, owing partly to budgetary constraints, but mostly because visitors would be more inclined to gather in the various outdoor ‘rooms’ that tie the buildings together. The street-front facade owes its aesthetic character to the various adobe walled ruins that still populate town, though at a scale that is more fitting for its highway location, while functionally providing a definitive boundary to the varied and secluded spaces within.
Location: Terlingua, TX, US