This is a house tailored to the landscape and unique biome of the Arizona Upland subdivision of the Sonoran Desert. The form and organization are a response to the rocky plateau above Soldier Wash and with vistas of the Pusch Ridge Wilderness of the Coronado National Forest, the valley of Tucson and beyond. New construction is constrained to the preexisting clearing (made by developers years ago) and site disturbance is otherwise kept to a minimum.
An atrium entry features an impluvium to ritualize the seasonal monsoon rainfall and importance of water in this climate. Cast-in-place earth blocks form programmatic masses, an abstraction of the local gneiss boulders. The space between these opens to the outdoors with operable glazing, and features a jewel-like courtyard - dedicated to a rescued Desert Tortoise -, thereby blurring inside and outside, house and landscape. Porches along the south façade double as solar shading and a thick, vegetated roof provides cover and insulation overhead. Conceptually the latter is like the desert floor itself has been quarried and raised overhead. The roof is fully occupiable thus serving as an outdoor room and place of observation, a cosmic connection to place.
The private room suites positioned around the courtyard along with a separated studio unit allow for flexible family/rental arrangements. This project's iterative study model process and precedent research yielded not just a singular design but also a catalog of bioclimatic design strategies for the Sonoran Desert.