Architectural Gems of Tucson Tour

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  • March 13, 2020
    2:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Join AWF members for a private tour of two homes designed by architect Judith Chafee

Architect Kathryn McGuire, a long-time associate of Judith Chafee, will take us on a private tour of the Centrum House and the Rieveschl Residence.  Both homes are featured in a new book “Powerhouse: The Life and Work of Judith Chafee”, co-authored by McGuire.

Chafee grew up in Tucson and attended the Yale School of Architecture, the only woman in the graduating class of 1960.  She returned to Tucson in 1970 where she opened a studio and became a professor at the University.  Kathy McGuire worked with Chafee for over 20 years, and will share her first-hand knowledge of Chafee’s intent and approach to designing these homes.

Centrum House 2 pm tour

With its Alhambra-inspired water garden and multiple outdoor spaces, including a ceramic water fountain designed by a local artist, a bronze ramada and a sculpture garden, Centrum House uses sculptural form in its interior as well.  The focus is on the center of the house, with four steps down to the central core, like a kiva.  Round steel columns and wood beams and trusses form a pyramid roof.  Highlights include the sunken living room set on a diagonal axis, Chafee’s signature sculptural concrete fireplace, the five-sided kitchen island, and the intricate cabinetwork and private alcoves.

The current owners of the Centrum House have graciously allowed us to tour their home.

Rieveschl Residence: 3:30 pm tour

Described by McGuire as “the grandest of Chafee’s realizations”, the Rieveschl Residence is designed as a sequential journey to and through the building, with an intricate juxtaposition of concrete steps, landings and passageways, and interlocking concrete frames and horizontal platforms jutting from the hillside.   Resting on a grid of slender cylindrical supports, the house resembles a “sky” house floating above the sloping terrain up against the Catalina Mountains.  Highlights include an 18’ high chiseled granite hillock in the entry, an art gallery corridor, a silver mirrored dressing room gallery, an intimate “poet’s corner” and the library.

The Rieveschl Residence is currently owned by a member of IWF-Chicago and her husband, and they have graciously invited us into their home.

Rieveschl Residence: 4:30 pm Cocktail Reception and book signing

Everyone will get a copy of the book signed by Kathy McGuire.

Book Reviewer: “Powerhouse” is a much needed dive into the life and work of the remarkable desert modernist, Judith Chafee.  Her houses are timeless meditations on … the sophisticated use of light and materials, a sensitivity to climate and culture, and an appreciation for the rituals of everyday life.”

Cost: $65pp for both tours, autographed book and cocktail reception.  Open to AWF members and guests.

(We will also be organizing an optional lunch at Hacienda del Sol at noon, before the first tour. Participants pay separately for lunch.)