Desert Courtyard House by Wendell Burnette Architects
The Sonoran Desert just outside of Scottsdale, Arizona is home for many luxurious estates designed in the rustic or southwestern styles to match the remote character of the area, but Wendell Burnette Architects have designed the Desert Courtyard House with a contemporary look, still blending in with the environment.
This stunning residence is defined by long straight edges, granite outcroppings and strong outdoors connection. Have a look!
As Ocotillos march across a private drive that descends a ridge following a natural wash, this project’s form emerges amidst towering Saguaros and geological outcroppings as the depth and complexity of the desert floor is revealed.
Constructed from soil excavated from the site, the house is a mass of concrete and rammed earth walls that meet the sky without termination. The battered walls envelop and protect conditioned spaces that surround a central courtyard.
During the daytime, the courtyard is defined by a continuous ribbon of glass, the desert floor and sky. At night, the glass dissolves and the steel plate ceiling of the interior spaces merges with the dark sky.
The roof is clad in weathered steel and, when seen from above, recedes into the landscape as a deep shadow.
Experience of place is prioritized by means of the project’s configuration and materiality allowing for a primordial understanding of the desert landscape.
Mass, hollowed mass, faceted mass, fissured mass, and mass that cracks open and hinges apart informed how we proceeded to give this home its defining qualities all the way down to the fittings and fixtures that one touches with the hand or the eye.
For instance, all the millwork is volumetric concealing its thinness until a bronze void is touched with the fingertips revealing its smooth, contoured surface allowing the mass to be cracked open revealing contents within.
Fissures in the steel ceiling reveal light while maintaining the quality of nothingness at night.
One can also push open a massive translucent stone to take an outdoor shower in a private faceted court. Mass and the improbability of delicacy discovered within, is what gives the Sonoran Desert its remarkable presence.