Southwest architecture is a combination of Pueblo and Spanish Mission design, first recognized in Santa Fe in the 1900s. Casa Suarez, the second home designed by Alberto Gonzales for the Suarez family, is located in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Las Cruces, which means "the crosses," lies in the Mesilla Valley and is known for its rich farming community. Picacho Peak, an extinct volcano, and the weathered features of the Organ Mountains form the southern tail end of the Rocky Mountains. Casa Suarez combines spacious living quarters with family functionality in a contemporary Southwest design.
Casa Suarez presented unique site challenges. Utilizing space while remaining open with plenty of natural light was an important factor in designing Casa Suarez. Alberto worked closely with Johnny and Victoria Suarez in developing and integrating custom ideas. Enthusiastically taking on the task of building his second home was the owner, Johnny Suarez. Working alongside him were his two sons, Matthew and Juan.
The three man crew and the occasional friend or family member worked extensively on every detail of the house. Wooden latillas, corbels, beams, and hand hewn posts accent the house and were influenced by the prevalent Southwestern style found throughout New Mexico. The towering kiva style fireplace with "nichos," recessed niches on either side, is an impressive feature and highlights creativity in a traditional form. The open aired atrium offers plenty of natural light for the living room, dining room, and kitchen without bringing the elements in. Details and ingenuity are the trademarks of Casa Suarez. Alberto Gonzales created a home where many family memories were shared. The design and craftsmanship of Casa Suarez is a part of New Mexico, "The Land of Enchantment."
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