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dancing with architecture: marfa, texas

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Dec 11, 2012 01:03 AM
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by bubba of the bubbles ( last modified Dec 10, 2012



We've spent the last eight Thanksgivings somewhere in West Texas, usually Marathon, Fort Davis, Alpine, or Marfa, and this year it was Marfa.

Marfa is really something else. When we first visited the town some 20 years ago, it was just about ready to blow away. We stayed at the historic Henry Trost designed hotel (Trost was a southwest focused architect from the Chicago School; his house in El Paso looks exactly like something Frank Lloyd Wright would have designed) and were given the penthouse suite. Imagine our surprise when we abruptly transitioned from the hacienda style of hotel hallway to the seventies-era porn set complete with shag carpet, a sunken living room, mirrors on the ceiling above the bed, and a glass-walled bathroom (I reckon many ranch hands were conceived in that room...). The place we ate breakfast at the next morning was half cordoned off because "the floor was fixin' to give out at any moment."

Flash forward to today where Marfa is a world-recognized center of minimalist sculpture and design thanks to Donald Judd who bought up half the town to create and display art when property was available for nothing. When we visited Schindler's Mackey Apartments earlier this year, an Austrian artist occupied one of the units. One of the key places to visit on his trip to the United States? Marfa.

Architecture in Marfa is really about repurposing although there are some new buildings in the Modern meme. Judd repurposed buildings from the old army base (a base that Patton spent some time at and, later, Rommel when he was a prisoner of war).

These photos are from Marathon:

Back to Marfa:




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