According to the 2010 US Census, Marfa, Texas is home to 1,981 people, 864 households and 586 families, although I can confirm that the population signs heading in and out of town last week said there were 2,121 people living in this sleepy little town. I have heard about the town of Marfa dating back to my days in college at the University of Texas at Austin where one of my good friends was a fan of minimalist artist Donald Judd, and he made a pilgrimage out here to visit the Chinati Foundation, a contemporary art museum Judd founded on the grounds of decommissioned US Army Fort D.A. Russell.
I was on vacation last week and part of my trip included spending time in Marfa – a town that despite it’s meager size and remote location, definitely has a designers vibe to it. A few days ago I wrote a post on “Textures from West Texas” a post that was inspired by the fact that I tend to take close-up and detailed pictures of different materials, patterns and textures – and all but 1 of those pictures came from within the town of Marfa. I like to think that I find some of my inspiration from looking at these sorts of images. Another thing that I am going to admit is that I tend to take pictures of the houses from different places. I will admit that despite the fact that I am standing in the middle of the street directly in front of these houses, I am extremely self-conscious about what I am doing. This is Texas after all and it is quite possible that the owners of these houses might be packing some heat.
Some of the houses I took pictures of look like they’ve been around for awhile. The city of Marfa, founded as early as 1883 as a water stop, along with its location only 60 miles from the Mexico border and it’s geographic location in the High Chihuahua Desert of West Texas, shows the architectural vernacular you would expect in this part of the country; Mission (1890 – 1920), Pueblo Revival (1910 – present), Spanish Eclectic (1915 – 1940), and Monterrey (1925 – 1955). What I was surprised to see was examples of Craftsman (1905 – 1930) and Colonial Revival (1890 – 1920).
And then there are the modern (or at least the attempt at modern …) examples. The photos I have here are not necessarily the best and the brightest but they do generally show the wide range of residential styles that a town 864 families in a small border town has to offer. I wasn’t sure what I’d find when I drove the streets to take my photos, some good, some bad, and some great – all of it interesting to me.
I hope you find it as interesting as I do.
I am loaded up with so many photos from my time spent in Marfa that I barely know what to do with them. There is an obvious attempt to find a balance between respect for the old ways while trying to add some new design considerations to current projects. While some are clearly more successful than others, they are almost all interesting.