Raise a Ramada: Southwest romance

A regional tradition lives on in Tucson

Sharon Cohoon

When Ann and Mike Liebert throw parties in their Tucson garden, guests are always slipping away to spend time in the ramada. The structure, with a beautiful nighttime view of downtown Tucson, feels like a retreat and draws guests like a magnet. "It's irresistible," says Ann.

This twiggy shelter - open on three sides to let the breezes blow through - was designed and built by Ed Kisto, a member of the Tohono O'odham, in the authentic Southwest style. Native Americans have been constructing similar sun shelters in the Sonoran desert for centuries using natural materials.

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