Denver Post fine arts critic Ray Mark Rinaldi takes a look at Element House, a recently-completed residential experiment in Anton Chico, N.M., that was designed by New York-based firm MOS and commissioned by the Museum of Outdoor Arts.
The model showcases the capabilities of energy-efficient design that doesn't sacrifice features that convey the appearance of a traditional home, such as a chimney, pitched roof and picture windows.
However, what may look like a chimney actual isn't one. Rather, the shaft lets in plentiful sunshine while expelling hot air, lessening the need for pricier climate control systems and artificial lighting.
With its mix of symbolism and purposeful execution, Element House is as much a piece of art as it is architecture, and that makes it an apt project for Englewood's Museum of Outdoor Arts, which has been its chief cheerleader and financial backer. "Element House is about rethinking what an outdoor museum really is and what it can be," said MOA Executive Director Cynthia Madden-Leitner.