A Delicate Balance

Rancho Del Cielo

Nestled at the foot of the West Texas Davis Mountains in a boundless wilderness once populated by antelope, buffalo and mountain lion, Rancho del Cielo overlooks sweeping prairies, mountain ranges and open sky. The building's site, located at the mouth of Rough Canyon, is comfortably positioned within this painterly canvas. Built in the early 1940s as a ranching outpost for a Texas railroad baron, the historic adobe compound was designed by an unknown Los Angeles architect. In 1995, the main ranch headquarters was lost to fire when a soft fog sparked its antique wiring. The new design challenge required a building of twice the scale while maintaining the delicate relationship to the landscape and existing compound structures.

Centering the larger headquarters within the site achieved balance and cohesion throughout the compound as a whole.


This landscape recalls the legendary Charles Goodnight (1836-1929) who negotiated with the Mescalero Apaches to allow the vast cattle herds of Texas to roam this same open range. Now the ranch serves as a model of conservation and restoration.

Leather strapped cypress water well sinker rods found on the site are used as window grilles.