The Tucson Mountain House: desert architecture dune right
Can a house be a living entity? Yes, when it's a space that evolves to constantly meet its homeowner's lifestyle, when it was built to capitalize on and celebrate its surroundings, and when it shines with a combination of wonderful form, as well as function. This beautiful modern house near Tucson, Arizona is a prime example of just such a dwelling. It was custom-built to match its locale, as well as its owners.
Set in the foothills just outside Tucson, the two-bedroom, two-bath house features a modern, austere beauty to match its rugged surroundings. The thick walls-up to two-feet dense in some spots-were constructed from rammed earth made from local soil, and they provide ample insulation, enhancing the home's energy efficiency. Oversize windows were designed to allow maximum views of the scenic mountain from the comfort of indoors, which is an asset particularly during the region's long, hot, dry periods and periods of torrential rains.
At just under 2,000 sq-ft, the home has a relatively modest footprint, although a roomy open-plan design gives it a spacious, expansive ambiance. The house is divided into two wings of different sizes. One houses the master suite plus a spacious social area tailored for entertaining, with its open and adjoining kitchen/dining/living spaces. The smaller wing contains a guest bedroom and large covered patio. (A utility room connects the two wings.)
The open design of the social area makes this an ideal layout for the homeowners, who love to cook and entertain (they whip up meals while socializing with guests). The lack of dividing walls in the main living area makes it easy to rearrange and regroup furniture for a party, or whenever a change is desired. High ceilings enhance a feeling of spaciousness and calm. Besides the obvious advantage to using local building materials (lower freight costs, supporting local suppliers), the earthy exterior of the home blends seamlessly into its surroundings, giving it a more elegant and naturalized appearance. Blink and you might miss it from the road, but look twice... and prepare to be amazed.