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Almost White Box

In his 1984 Pritzker Prize acceptance speech, Richard Meier, FAIA, recalled discussions on color with his children, who professed to love green and blue. They were confounded by their father’s strange choice of white, prompting Meier to explain how all of the rainbow’s colors could be seen in this single color. “The whiteness of white is never just white,” he said. “It is almost always transformed by light and that which is changing.” How white became synonymous with Modernism and contemporary architecture can be traced back to Le Corbusier’s famous houses. Certainly one does not think of Villa Savoye without…

Where Texas Ends

The Franklin Mountains are the southernmost expression of the Rio Grande rift, an uplift of Precambrian rock that runs from Colorado down through New Mexico. The ridge dissipates long enough to create El Paso del Norte, a gap formed by the Rio Grande that holds the cities of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez. A military base and cement factory mar the range’s leeward side, but its windward side, intact and austere, looks out over the cityscape to Juárez beyond. This slope, littered with lechuguilla as well as weathered gray stones and quartz crystals from an abandoned mine, is the site…