Atalaya Shelter / Jaime Inostroza


© Andrew Pielage

© Andrew Pielage
  • Architects: Jaime Inostroza
  • Location: Scottsdale, AZ, United States
  • Design Team: Jaime Inostroza
  • Area: 161.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2017
  • Photographs: Andrew Pielage
  • Manufacturer: Jaime Inostroza
  • Construction Manager: Jaime Inostroza
  • Collaborators: Alejandra Henriquez, Michael Derutte , Peter Haberkorn, Lorraine Etchell, Jan Sobotoka, Giblert Rey, Conor Deniston, Nelson Schleiff, Xinxuan Liu
  • Campus: The school of architecture at Taliesin

© Andrew Pielage

© Andrew Pielage

From the architect. To Dwell in the Shadow of the Trees of the Sonora Desert

It was in March of 2016 when I start to talk with my mentor Aaron Betsky about the idea of the shelter. In that meeting Aaron asked me some fundamental questions for the shelter:


© Andrew Pielage

© Andrew Pielage

Idea sketch

Idea sketch

© Andrew Pielage

© Andrew Pielage

-Find a site
-What does this site wants to be?
-How do I want to be in this site?
-How does my design reflect what I have learned as a student at Taliesin?
-What makes this site part of Taliesin?
-What will the site be after I gone?


Site plan

Site plan

These questions were crucial for me in understanding the Taliesin territory and to develop a principle in architecture, an architectural observation that could respond to the landscape of the Sonora desert. I was walking through desert when I found my fellow student, Carl Kohut. He told me about a beautiful site and showed it to me. We walked along a path that I never I had never seen. Everything was new for me and then suddenly I saw the place a new. Immediately I knew that this was the right site.


© Andrew Pielage

© Andrew Pielage

It was like secret place hidden in the wash, covered by the shadows of the trees and looking out at the wash and the desert. The entrance to the site is shaped by the Alameda of Palos Verdes. This creates the aperture to the site and at sunset the site becomes a distiller of the light. The mountains are now with purple in color. The landscape is an opera of colors.


exploded axonometric

exploded axonometric

From that observation of the site my principle was to develop an entrance procession that would let me dwell within the horizon of the Alameda of the Palos Verdes. Because of that the name of the project is “Atalaya,” which means crow nest. It is the highest point from the boat where you can see the horizon across the ocean. I used the existing concrete pad like a plinth that holds this structure and continued the procession with a combination wall- stair. The shelter will be covered with fabric panels that will amplify the colors of the desert.


© Andrew Pielage

© Andrew Pielage

As young architect Taliesin is a great laboratory where you can test principles in architecture. To design and build, the logistics, the schedule, the materials, the landscape – all these factors are crucial to understand how the architect can manage the task of architecture. For me it is a privilege to continue the legacy of learning by doing at Taliesin.


Section A-A'

Section A-A'

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