Quite simply, the Terlingua House is a compound surrounded by a spiraling wall. The wall provides interesting architectural features, such as windows, shelving and interlocking roof forms, which integrate with the structure of the house. These features also create interior and exterior continuity and a carefully located plant area, portal, gathering area and pool.
The experience includes a courtyard with functional edges at the center of a spiraling pathway. Within this pathway, inhabitants and the landscape are discovered at the turning of each corner, finally arriving, resting and departing. The Terlingua House is said to coil in the sun like the fossil of a giant rattlesnake.