A new rental and retail center is being developed in a rugged, infill area of El Paso: Time at Montecillo.

Some interesting concepts were employed, and some even work – usable while being attractive. If one cannot have function and form in a design, it didn’t work. I’ll concentrate on outdoor spaces within the retail section.

From the serene afternoon of Thanksgiving 2014 –

retrofitted shipping containers galore…sky and mountains
steel and CMU block are durable…attractive when well-designed

One of the two patios, this is more than most places do…thought-out, with ‘Desert Museum’ Palo Verde trees and real seperation from vechicles.

a sheltered patio off several restaurants…even a coffee / donut place

Yes, it’s a knockoff of one of those urban sophisto donut places. Exactly (1) edible type of donut was found on the rack for my visit, one wet Saturday AM in October. But not the rest; we eat with our eyes, right?

At least with such food-du-jour, hipsters are less likely to over-eat.

The counter staff that day was friendly and helpful, so that’s a plus, as was the coffee. Even my (24 oz?) donut, made with a touch of cinnamon and Mexican chocolate, wasn’t bad…

industrial trash cans…custom and probably durable
shades of Aztec, plus Hendrix or the female drummer Lenny Kravitz had?

She’s at 0:11 – here. “But what I really want to know is…Are you gonna go my way?” You’ll have to picture the air guitar.

durable w/ the steel barrier…not for everyone, but I can get behind this
railroad ties look better *anywhere* than landscape borders, I’m seeing
even walkable access onto Mesa St…into our gorgeous desert mountainscape

Not that anyone would want to walk next to Mesa, directly faced with chaotic traffic. Thinking about it, I don’t want to even drive Mesa. But I digress…

the generous scale is comfortable
water features are essential in the desert…not so much at 57F…sure I dislike this brick, though unique
random potted plants for a comfortable feel

I’ve been running into the term, “boho modern”. Or is that, “boho moderne”, by some artiste?

Chihuahuan Desert cacti doomed into a cool, shady microclimate, OK now

Time to settle in for the evening, so one last scene while leaving.

a dreamy scene to us desert rats

11 Replies to “Timing”

  1. That’s got to be one of the more interesting reuses of steel shipping containers that I’ve seen. It certainly is the most honest as far as the designers’s acknowledging the source of their materials. But have they sufficiently transformed their raw materials? And don’t things look a little stark?

    It beckons to design in reverse…take meaningful plantings and the people areas you want (sun for winter, shade for summer, anywhere night), then design the containers and structures around that. Maybe a tight lot didn’t allow that? True, stark and no transformation of the originals.


  2. While the idea of recycling containers is good, the scenes appear a bit too junky, stark and cold–as in uninviting. That can be helped with new landscaping. The brick water feature adds too many angles.

    Yellow hesperaloe on that red corrugated wall if it will fit.

    I wonder how this will look and be viewed in 5…10…15 years? You nailed it on the brick angles. There actually is room for yellow hesperaloes where you suggest…wait until I post what they packed in! Their instant thinking makes better design a hard sell…


  3. I like most of what’s going on here, a lot. Those sad little cactus though, not so much…or the odd brickwork.

    I think we’re tracking. Wait until you see some happier cacti, not as an afterthought…soon…


  4. I’m LOVING all of that steel! Rusty….strong….steel! No plants with chlorosis near any of those structures! Looooove

    Interesting, I didn’t think was clean enough for you. Good point on no chlorosis, tho no photinia, nandina, holly!


    1. Really!!??? Dude…LOVE orange! …

      My holly (existing) in the front…so chlorotic….ug…. but….big…and…..there…..pretty for that.

      True, orange from terra cotta, rusted metal, the Hyundai container…dudette!


  5. Interesting use and re-use of containers. I’d prefer to see more habitat planting. If a public space is going to have a water feature, why not include flowering/shelter plants for birds?

    On a future post, I’ll show what they did on nearby plantings, as the angles in there are tight. You may be right, how they missed that crucial connection!


  6. So many good things about this development. Perhaps because I’ve always lived in moist seaport towns, the re purposed shipping containers look like they’re waiting to be loaded onto a ship which messes with my mind when seeing the desert background.

    Agreed, Outlaw! My viewpoint comes from seeing such things on rare trips to port cities, but more often on railroad lines. The ocean is a desert with it’s life underground.”

    I’ve seen varying degrees of success on such adaptive reuse of industrial sites or elements…here all new, it works. But those that work *all* incorporate landscape in a real way – appropriate plants and hardscape used well, simply, to enjoy in our climate.

    Lightly-rusted, sturdy metal is so desert, especially when not tossed as junk under the cover of night, into an arroyo!


  7. I like it! Love rusted metal and love the idea and look of things that are repurposed, recycled, reused, reclaimed, restored! The trash can is very cool. As to the hipster thing…I have no idea what it is….I am several generations past that : ) I do wonder if they will remember to water the random pots. As to boho (short for Bohemia) that is more me and has been since I was a teenager a long time ago, nothing new under the sun as they say!

    Me too, they did pay attention to positioning everything. I need to stop by and shell out some bucks for a drink and dinner some evening, early enough before it gets crowded, but to see who and how it’s used. With spring starting here now, I must! Yes, hipster and other fads just morph every so often or generationally…I remember my 3 sisters’ outfits in the 70’s! Maybe it’s the person’s depth that makes it fad or fashion?


  8. I must be spending too much time in proximity to hipsters here in Austin (picture me making bratty face “I was here first!”) but I like this development. OK, they made a few errors with plant placement, and perhaps their vendor assortment hasn’t quite hit full potential. But the bones of the place are very attractive and inviting to my eyes. I am a sucker for repurposing. You are thinking this development suffers from “hipster mouse in the desert rat’s country” syndrome a bit…?

    I saw my first hipster in ATX in ’10, only to realize we had our own in Albuquerque for years, too, just different skin colors. The hipster mice just need to remember all that makes it posible here. True, the bones are good, and that there was some thought, makes The Time a winner for me. Now, to work on replanting 1/2 of it *with* the same budget they had to do it wrongly, but this Time correctly :-)


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