Widely considered one of the most architecturally significant homes in Arizona, the “Ramada House” by Tucson Architect Judith Chafee FAIA was completed in 1975. The home, located in the Santa Catalina Foothills of Tucson, Arizona was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.
Located on the original 8.75 acre natural desert site, the home was strategically placed to maximize views, privacy and efficiency. A remarkable work that incorporates regional design influences with modern architecture, this home interacts as a series of masonry masses nestled beneath an integral canopy of dimensional wood beams, slat screens and log posts (the “ramada” structure), which allows the home a respite from the Arizona sun, yet providing for completely unobstructed views beneath this comforting shelter.
Placing the Ramada on a grid, the home is allowed to interact freely beneath this canopy of dappled light and natural materials. The massive wooden posts are allowed to intersect with the interior as they may, honoring the structure above. Filtered light from above provides a constant play of light and shadow.
Utilizing mortar washed slump block reminiscent of the historic adobe blocks used in this region, the house structures allow the Ramada shelter to provide screening that creates a glorious interface between indoors and out: multiple patios, decks and oversized windows connect you to the sweeping vistas of the land and mountain views.
At nearly 4000SF, the home offers generous spaces and thoughtful details, from abundant storage to intimate rooms, the unique character of this home only enhances the users experience. Outside, the home is sheltered by additional mature trees while the view of the dramatic mountains are unimpeded. A 40’ pool, finished in an earth-colored plaster, reflects the night sky and makes for a cool destination in the summer heat.
The design includes a wealth of thoughtful amenities and details, from ample storage to built-in elegance. The library features 10’ bookcases and the home retains the original concrete tile floors and custom designed “Talivera” bath tiles, placed in a uniquely modern pattern.
The home has been cherished by the original owner who has kept the integrity of this house intact. The historic designation is reflected in a reduction of property tax and assures respect for the history and design of this very special dwelling.
Scott Jarson of azarchitecture/Jarson & Jarson was the referring Broker. The sale was closed by Robin Sue Kaiserman of Long Realty Company Tucson.
About the Architect:
Judith Chafee FAIA (1932–1998) was an American architect known for her work on residential buildings in Arizona and for being a professor of architecture at the University of Arizona. She was a recipient of the National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship to the American Academy in Rome during the middle of her career and was the first woman from Arizona to be named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.
After an undergraduate degree, she studied at the School of Architecture at Yale University under the deanship of Paul Rudolph. While a student at Yale, Chafee won a competition for design, however the award ceremony was held in a men’s club and she had to go through the kitchen to receive the plaque. Chafee graduated from Yale as the only woman in her class and went on to work for Eero Saarinen, Paul Rudolph, Edward Larrabee Barnes, and The Architects Collaborative (Walter Gropius).
At the age of 38 Chafee returned to her native Tucson, Arizona to start her own architectural practice. Chafee worked out of her Tucson office for the remainder of her career, producing mostly single family residences. Her projects are highly regarded and she became the first woman in Arizona to be named an AIA Fellow. Among other awards, Chafee was awarded the Academy of Rome fellowship to study architecture in Italy. She taught for many years at the University of Arizona, was a visiting professor at the University of Texas and University of Washington, St. Louis, and led a studio at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.