Tucked away in the Canelo Hills of Southern Arizona’s San Rafael Valley, a bunker lies in wait for its impending day in the sun. No, we aren’t referring to a possible upcoming apocalypse. We’re talking about that time-honoured rite of passage for anyone with a home surrounded by acres of dusty landscape: an epic house party.
You know the ones, you’ve seen movies. One guy allows hordes of friends, acquaintances, and even some strangers onto his massive property for an evening, night, and early morning of loud music, multiple kegs and pick-up trucks. So many pick-ups.
Luckily, Casa Caldera is more than equipped to handle however many partygoers decide to show up. To seamlessly bridge the rugged vistas and the home, the architects built an indoor-outdoor hallway that brings in a generous amount of natural sunlight and moonlight.
That open hallway also provides a necessary natural cross-ventilation. The entire home is operated on energy-efficient options: wood fuel sourced on the property provides heating, water comes from a well, and solar power is used for minimal electrical and appliance needs.
There’s also no need to worry about gatecrashers at this hypothetical rager: perhaps after watching what happened to Jake Gyllenhaal out in the desert in Nocturnal Animals, the owner of this home requested that it be built as a virtually impenetrable structure. In other words: once those doors close, they’re not easily opened.
The walls were constructed of poured lava-crete, which is comprised of pulverized lightweight red scoria, cement, and water, all mixed and then rammed into formwork. That creates the structure and finish while also offering insulation and thermal mass all in one stroke.
And while the outside of Casa Caldera has all the makings of a legit bomb shelter, the inside is as cozy as can be. Keeping things minimal with warm wood accents, the home’s interior looks as though it belongs to rustic cabin in the woods.
Rooms are made spacious enough that from inside, you’d never guess the entirety of the home is only 945 square feet. Not quite enough space for that huge party we mentioned, but that’s where the long hallway leading directly to the great outdoors comes in handy.
Before you know it, after a quick tour of Casa Caldera, you’re back outside, enjoying the view, taking in some sun, ready to smash a few drinks and fall asleep in a particularly bushy tumbleweed.