Rina Swentzell’s House

Building Project

Rina Swentzell's House

A family project to build Athena’s mother, Rina,
an adobe house in Santa Clara, NM.

Santa Clara, NM – 2009

After years of living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Athena’s mother Rina, returned to her native Santa Clara Pueblo to be close to family.  She built a 700sqf adobe home that is a tribute to Rina’s architectural design skills.

The house is simple in shape, rectangular, but tastefully divided on the inside with curving walls that transform the angularity of the outside, into subtle interior sculpture. As a whole, the little adobe house is a beautiful work of art and yet at the same time, ever so practical and functional. There was nothing elaborate in the way of materials, the same ones were incorporated that have been used in the houses and kivas of Santa Clara Pueblo for centuries. The wood was local, as were the adobes used for the walls. The finish plasters were simple and elegant, a medium brown blend of finely screened clay with sand and straw. The house is a thoughtful interpretation of the past and yet very contemporary. The comfort level is high, the passive solar design requires little to no additional heating or cooling.