400 West El Paso Street
In 1973, Judd purchased a complex of buildings located in downtown Marfa, the site of some of his first large architectural projects and installations. Referred to as “The Block,” it encompasses a full city block and includes two large airplane hangars where Judd installed his art. In 1974, he acquired the entirety of The Block, which includes a rectangular two-story house, formerly offices of the U.S. Army’s Quartermaster Corps that served as his Marfa residence.
The property is enclosed with an adobe wall and includes a second adobe wall designating an interior courtyard; both walls use local construction techniques. The interior courtyard is landscaped with cactus gardens and Judd-designed furniture. The hangars contain Judd’s personal collection of art, furniture, and artifacts along with a personal library comprising more than 13,000 volumes.
Judd renovated the two-story house to serve as his private residence, with a kitchen area and bedrooms for his children. A separate building, next to the house to serve as a bathhouse, was designed to be the same height as the U-shaped courtyard wall built between the house and the eastern building. An additional building was built on the opposite side of the courtyard to maintain balance against the bathhouse structure, keeping with Judd’s interest in symmetry within art and architecture. Judd had plans for two more buildings to be placed to the east and west, which were to house paintings by Judd and others. To the north, there was to be a complex of four small adobe buildings centered around a pond.
“Aside from Ft. Russell…the Mansana de Chinati, the Block, a city block in town, is the largest and most complete place that I’ve planned. Originally there were only two large iron and adobe warehouses parallel to each other and a much smaller two-story building on a block open to the main highway on the south and to the railroad tracks and a feed mill on the north. This was a very general arrangement, which determined at most a corresponding rectangular alignment.” –Donald Judd