Archive for January, 2019

Douglass Residence and Studio


Rae Douglass purchased an existing house on Blanton Drive in 1997 as an investment. Shortly after this Rae decided to relocate to Tucson and inhabit the house, so that he would have a base of operations more convenient to his increasing number of commissions on the mainland. After living in the house for a few years Rae started construction on a major addition and renovation to the house that would triple the size of the 700 sf house and give him a live work space.



Rae has developed a deep sense of the way that good architecture must be a direct expression of the lifestyle of its inhabitants. A structure must relate to its context, and a sense of economy rooted in a firm understanding of craft and the abilities of a region. Living in the Existing house for 3 years prior to construction, gave Rae a unique understanding of his property and La Madera Neighborhood. The addition was placed to maximize usable open space and protect the property from the harsh afternoon sun. The plan is arranged to have a seamless flow of interior and exterior space with a large summer kitchen at its heart. The summer kitchen stitches the front house together with the studio space in the rear, all of which are sheltered by a continuous roof. The plan of the addition is that of an elongated Dog Trot, with most windows oriented to the north and south.


Due to limited funds, Rae acted as the general contractor, and employed various skilled artists and craftsmen which he had worked with on previous projects. All of the fenestration including the large glass, redwood and steel pivot doors of the summer kitchen, were designed by Rae and fabricated by Brian Horton who is a sculptor and skilled metal worker. The pivot doors are essential to the flow of space and when fully open act as an acoustic band-shell when the space is used as a stage during parties. They weigh over 800 lbs each, but open effortlessly due to lead counterweights and ball bearing pivots.




The ceiling and eastern wall are paneled in rough sawn planks that came from old growth Ponderosa Pine trees that had previously died in place due to fire or disease. The paneling was provided by a one man lumber mill located near the Gila National forest of New Mexico. Brian Meyers of Sun Bear construction who was hired to frame the house knew of this lumber mill. These along with many other close working relationships created a design build team that was instrumental in building 1400 SF of architecture for under $100,000.







The Maclaren Residence is an 8000 square foot ocean front estate situated at the apex of Napili Point on the island of Maui.  The design is loosely based on a southern Dog-Trot house with a lanai joining the living room with the rest of the main house. Two lozenge, or boat-shaped spaces frame either side of the central lanai to form the main public rooms of the house. The ends of these rooms open with unique sets of sliding doors that completely disappear into concealed pockets within the solid walls. the ceiling of the living room is vaulted with a heavy timber structure that recalls the frame of a wooden boat hull.  A large roof envelops most of the second level to recall the lines of traditional tropical dwellings like the French colonial “Dickey” style roof of Kama’aina style architecture. The shape and orientation of the roof helps to shelter the entry court from excessive winds.  A village atmosphere is created between the main and guest house. A grass lawn cascades gracefully down to the rocky shore below a zero edged swimming pool.




Humanescence is a dynamic, floor to ceiling sculpture of human anatomy at the UC Denver Health Sciences Center created under the auspices of the Colorado Council of the Arts. This permanent display is featured in the new Health Sciences Library atrium to welcome all visitors. The title of the sculpture is derived from Human, Essence, and Luminescence. This rendering of human anatomy was accomplished by an amalgamation of anatomy from the National Library of Medicine’s Visible Human Project with the unique 3D presentation and patented lighting effects of Rae Douglass. Anatomical features from the photographic images were transcribed onto 241 – 25′ long, 3/4″ wide, stainless steel filaments by methods devised and patented by Rae Douglass.


In the finished sculpture, each labeled filament is anchored in a matrix to the ceiling and extends to an oak pedestal two floors below. The sculpture appears to shimmer as the viewer moves around the column because of the moiré pattern of the matrix of filaments. Energy efficient fluorescent lighting is placed at the top and base of the sculpture to make the body imagery printed onto the diffraction film appear self-illuminated. The display creates a visual paradox that speaks to the current challenge of the medical profession. You see, it is natural to make the array of filaments denser and increase the proportion of the image to void space because more cross sectional imagery will be displayed. The paradox comes when you realize that you can no longer see as deeply into the body.







Earth-Wing is a small vacation home on a remote site in western New Mexico. The house site is on a mesa in a landscape that would overpower a conventional design. The owner is building a landing strip on the top of the mesa, so the house is built into the eastern side of the mesa and virtually invisible on the vast mesa top. Being off the grid Earthwing utilizes sustainable environmental design and materials including passive solar, and an innovative sod roof design to moderate temperature changes and shelter the house from severe western winds. The design optimizes the majestic views of the site while providing solar heat gain through an innovative central kiva courtyard. The room layout was tailored to give maximum privacy for each room while maintaining a spacious feel to the living spaces.









Rae Douglass is an architect who has created a broad range of work that is noteworthy for its originality and deep connection to client and context. Rae’s work has won awards from the American Institute of Architects and has been included in annual tours of significant architecture. Rae is also an inventor with multiple patents in the lighting and toy industries, and currently has inventions licensed by Ravensburger. Rae founded a lighting company and has created permanent sculptural installations based on his inventions at various schools and universities. Rae has taught Architecture at the University of Hawaii and has been invited to give talks about his work throughout the country. Rae has worked with the Hawaii Department of Education to initiate the Ka Hei Program as its Program Manager and to design a modular system of building components to replace their inventory of portable classrooms. Registered Architect, Arizona, Hawaii Education Bachelor of Architecture – Mississippi State University Urban Studies Abroad – Plymouth Polytechnic, United Kingdom

Herman Residence

Central Courtyard


Living Room

Bar Counter at Kitchen

Accessory Dwelling Unit