Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona / Kevin B. Howard Architects

- Advertisement -

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects

Architects: Kevin B. Howard Architects
Project: Desert House / Home 901
Location: Sabino Springs, Tucson, Arizona, United States
Size: 4500 ft2
Year 2016
Photographs: Matt Winquist, Robin Stancliff

Description by architect: There are only a few instances in an architectural career where a client and an architect’s vision unify into an immaculate and complete expression of art and architecture. We were very fortunate to work with a couple who, devoted to the ideals of minimalism’s stark allure, asked us to design a house in the foothills of Tucson, Arizona, located in the profoundly diverse Sonoran Desert. The owners’ refined sense of contrast required a “modern, minimal home: a pristine box that seemed to have landed in the desert.”

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 1

The house’s hillside location required that we take advantage of the boundless vistas while protecting the owners’ carefully curated collection of art and modernist furniture as well as the desert itself. These diverging conditions resulted in the elevation of the major living spaces to the upper floor. The considerable programmatic shift reduced the footprint and the construction impact, as well as reiterating the owners’ vision of gently touching down upon the earth. Kevin Howard’s assertion that “The desert is very slow to heal” can be seen in the surgical location of the residence around and within the numerous Saguaros on the site.

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 2

The inclusion of gallery space and its appropriate protective measures overlaid the architectural program. Miesian glass walls were replaced with a studied array of spotless shadow boxes protecting deeply recessed glass panes. The clients shared their inspiration and enthusiasm for Renzo Piano’s Atrium in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 3

The interior stair acts as a tectonic centerpiece, contrasting the formal execution of the main atrium while matching its clarity and refinement in detailing. This Atrium houses the bulk of the owners’ art collection and connects the upper and lower floors of the residence. The height allows the living spaces to breathe and provides a new appreciation of the various pieces of art as they are viewed from different positions in the house. A single continuous skylight centered down the middle of the gallery marks the passage of time without harming the cherished art held within. The main living and dining spaces face south, framing the view of the desert below in a perfect unobstructed volume.

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 4

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 5

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 7

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 8

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 9

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 10

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 11

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 12

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 13

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 14

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 15

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 16

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 17

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 18

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 19

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 20

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 21

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 22

Striking Desert House in Tucson, Arizona, Kevin B. Howard Architects 23

- Advertisement -

A Mill Valley House Made of Red Cedar and Glass

When Charles and Ralph found this house made of red cedar and glass, for rent on the hills of San Francisco, a work of...

South Surrey House by Campos Leckie Studio

Surrey house is conceived as a domestic landscape that blurs the boundary between interior and exterior space in a temperate coastal rainforest climate. It is essentially a ranch house typology with a guest house stacked upon it - for a physically active empty

SAMI Arquitectos Have Transformed a Ruin into a Vacation Home

SAMI Arquitectos have used a ruin to design a vacation home on the island of Pico, Portugal. Description by SAMI Arquitectos: A ruin was the starting...

Hadera Apartment / Sfaro Architects

Hadera Apartment is a single-family home with an interesting interior design conceived by Sfaro Architects, an architecture studio founded by Bosmat Sfadia Wolf and Nir...

Lincoln Road House – Extension and Renovation in North London

Lincoln Road House is our latest project in the "county roads" of East Finchley. Following a visit to our Durham Road project while it was under construction, the homeowners Ed and Elena signed us up to help renovate and extend what was perhaps the last unloved house in the neighbourhood.

Coffeebar Menlo Park / Walker Warner Architects and Nicole Hollis

The design teams collaborated with Coffeebar Menlo Park founder Greg Buchheister to reimagine a building that was once a nail salon and an Asian food market into a curated, modern café that would draw in commuters and residents alike.

Elizabeth House by Dorrington Atcheson Architects

Located in Auckland, Elizabeth House is a contemporary family home designed by Dorrington Atcheson Architects. This new build in the heritage suburb of Freeman’s Bay...

The Crafted House / Bringing Craftsmanship To A Georgian Townhouse

The Crafted House has been extensively refurbished to create a family home with rich and tactile interiors. De Rosee Sa architects in collaboration with...

The Shop at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans

The Shop is a comprehensive co-working development that is located on the third and forth floors of the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) in downtown New Orleans, one of New Orleans’ most important cultural institutions.

RACV Tiny Home / Maddison Architects

RACV Tiny Home can operate totally off grid or connect into services. Sewerage, grey water and drinking water are collected as is solar power.

Chechaquo Cabin: Natural Modern Mountain Cabin Design

Chechaquo Cabin is a mountain home in Methow Valley tucked along the eastern edge of the North Cascades designed by Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects. From...