Thunderbird Hotel & Capri Event Center
A haven for “culture tourists” in the west Texas town of Marfa, the Thunderbird Hotel juxtaposes contemporary design with Western touches. Built in 1959 as a classic horseshoe-shaped, single-story roadside motel, the 24-room structure was gutted and rebuilt to reflect a modern, minimalist aesthetic. Each room opens onto the vine-covered breezeway that surrounds the courtyard. Low stucco walls and a live ocotillo fence create a private oasis around the pool, which reflects the vast sky above. Stands of native plants and cacti anchor the hotel in its environment, and a latticework of salvaged oil-field piping shades the breezeways and poolside lounge with orange honeysuckle vines. An outdoor lounge with a fireplace for cold desert nights completes the complex.
The renovation of The Capri Event Center, a World War I–era storage hangar, into a 4,000-square-foot community gathering and event space was the last phase of construction for Marfa’s Thunderbird Hotel. Masses of native plants and cacti anchor The Capri in its desert environment and a latticework of salvaged oil-field piping shades the breezeways and lounge areas with vines. Inspired by an ephemeral arroyo—Spanish for a dry creek bed—stormwater is quietly controlled through the garden to the town creek. Low stucco walls and a live ocotillo fence create a private oasis around the central water feature.
Photography: Adam Barbe & Lake|Flato