Prince of Organic Architecture


Bart Prince is an American-born architect who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is known for his organic and flowing architectural forms that are designed to harmonize with the environment. Pictured is a home he designed for Steve Skilen in Columbus Ohio. The curvilinear glass-and-copper-clad residence had to be beautiful from the air, since Steve comes in by helicopter.


Prince made this home to form hidden lower levels and shored it up with stone walls. Bananas, papayas, guavas and other tropical fruits and flowers grow in the garden, which is enclosed in a domed conservatory near the man-made pond and waterfall.


“We wanted everything to be transparent, not translucent,” Prince says. “There are almost no blinds, draperies or brise-soleils.” Windowpanes, which cover three quarters of the exterior, enclose the storm room. Glass guardrails “join the spaces visually.”


Beams radiate from a central column in the main living area. Above it is the storm room; below, accessible by a ramp, are the pool and garden area. Inside the column are the house’s mechanical and electrical systems. Sandstone quarried on-site was used for the fireplace, at rear.


The master bedroom, which has a private balcony, is set at the top of a spiral staircase that links the four rooms in the bedroom wing.


A 75-foot-long pool winds its way along the lower level of the house. “The owner wanted a lap pool running through a tropical garden, with palm trees and bananas and views of the sky,” the architect says. “The living spaces are arranged around that.”


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