architect's statement

A house is a place to live, work and play. It is the extent of the universe and the size of a room. I begin design with space: what it should do and how it should feel, the pragmatic and the creative. Fundamentally, architecture is the skeleton around space. The skeleton defines, materializes the form, and gives image.

Santa Fe architecture is a particularly rich language of elements. (See Materials for a visual glossary of some basics.) Courtyards, thick walls, natural materials and sculptural forms can be luxuries in other areas. Here they are expected, integral to design. Building today has very direct roots to past traditions.

Building in harmony with the land is a key principle of design of my work. Santa Fe is a region of incredible beauty and a climate that propels you outside. I use courtyards, the portals (porches), outdoor rooms and terraces as essential transitions between inside and out. Through the use of material and color, I try to merge the house with its landscape.

I believe it is also important to respect the authentic character of materials. “Santa Fe Style"”should be more than skin deep ornamentation; it should be a respectful use of materials in their best capacities.

The light in Santa Fe is unlike any other I've seen. It is a challenge to do it justice, but how the light washes a wall or etches a shadow is part of the poetry of design here. Thick walls splayed out framing a window, pergolas overlaid with latillas, and skylights are all ways architecture can play with light.

Every house needs living space, play room, sleeping areas, kitchens and baths. Every client needs these things in different ways. We work together - to join your ideas and mine, practicality and imagination, and contemporary and traditional elements to make a wonderful house.

I am a sole practitioner, which means I am the principal on each project. My master's degree is from the University of Maryland. I am a registered architect in both Maryland and New Mexico. Honors include nomination for the McAuley Institute's Courage in Community Award, selection as one of the Young Turks of New Mexico Architecture for an exhibition at the University of New Mexico Art Museum, and work featured in the Santa Fean magazine.

a good building has harmony with its site,
connection to the land,
character in its form,
personality in its materials
and a sensitive interplay with light.

Give me a call and lets talk about creating your dream home together.


— Deborah Auten   505.982.8956 or dauten[AT]prodigy.net

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