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When you look at his body of work and his refreshing, original design ethos, Robert Stone is more of an artist than an architect. While many other architects might have you believe the same about them, Stone’s work — bold, raw, engaging, and unapologetic — steers far clear of convention and hip architectural trends that muddy the marketplace with tired tropes. Rosa Muerta was not built for a client, nor did it have any real budget. It was built because Stone had an idea and wanted to share it with the world.

“I want to establish to possibility of an underground architecture that is meaningful in it’s own time and place,” Stone says. “Architecture that matters, if even just to a few people. I want to make work that is every bit as beautiful, sunny, depraved, dark, exotic, familiar, trippy and fucked-up as Southern California is.”

Elements like the fake flowers, mirrored ceilings, and tinted glass are a reaction to the Cholo culture of SoCal, bringing the supposed low-class aspirations of local residents to high design, reinterpreting them into architecture. It’s an acknowledgment, validation, and warm embrace of all that surrounds the house. And because no one lives in the house full-time, Stone has been able to rent it out to hundreds of people — yet another step in the organic process of living, creating, and sharing.

Stone designed and built the house entirely on his own, without help from any other construction workers or contractors. It speaks to Stone’s close emotional relationship to the house, the land, and the culture he grew up in. Rosa Muerta brims with personal touches and humanistic flourishes, like the concrete hearts that adorn the home. Says Stone, ”The heart initially reads as perhaps a pop gesture, but it’s own connotations of love and sincerity bring the next question: ‘does he actually mean it?’ Yes, I mean it.”