Lavance Shade Screen / Benjamin Hall & Michael Lavance

Courtesy of &

The Lavance Shade Screen, a project designed and built by Benjamin Hall & Michael Lavance, was created out of appreciation for the desert climate and its harsh effects on specific materials. This inspiration and architectural concept led to this unique and regionally specific approach in providing much needed shade to a custom residential outdoor barbecue and bar near the downtown of Scottsdale, Arizona. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Courtesy of Benjamin Hall & Michael Lavance

A set of steel frames emerge from the ground and wrap from east to west with a simple parabolic structural geometry, allowing user to walk in and around to sit behind the cooking counter. On the north/south axis, the entire structure bows down in respect to the high Arizona summer sun. Attached to the steel frames are reclaimed wood segments that were discarded and upcycled. The placement of the wood segments vary in elevation depending on its relationship to sightline views from under the shade structure and the diurnal movement of the sun, from which shade is to be provided.

Courtesy of Benjamin Hall & Michael Lavance

This project came to fruition due to a design-build relationship that the architect and owner agreed upon; combined they performed all construction aspects in order to keep costs within scope. The quarter-inch hot-rolled steel plate was cut with a waterjet into small segments for shipping reasons and the pieces were welded back together in three large arcs at the site of the residence. The reclaimed wood was ripped down into two different sizes and thicknesses, also as a means of achieving a specific effect, while also minimizing costs. The slats vary in thickness and spacing, and there is a dense porosity at the top to block the desert sun.

Courtesy of Benjamin Hall & Michael Lavance

To create a stronger visual connection to the residence, the reclaimed wood slats slowly thin at eye level. Cutting TREX decking into thin, pliable strips, the top surface of the steel structure was lined and bolted through in only a few locations, alleviating additional stress on the wood that would be caused by the expansion and contraction of the steel as well as serving as a nailing strip for the wood and buffering the movement of the steel from the wood.

Courtesy of Benjamin Hall & Michael Lavance

The steel is left unprotected and will age over time to a rusty red, while the wood will soften and warp into a mellow gray. Invigorated by the final outcome of this project, the owner is now considering this the first phase of a much larger master plan to bring what was a banal backyard into a vibrant outdoor living extension. Hopefully, there will be more to come soon.

Design / Build Team: Benjamin Hall & Michael Lavance
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona, United States
Client: Michael Lavance

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Lavance Shade Screen / Benjamin Hall & Michael Lavance" 18 Mar 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 01 Sep 2014. <>


Share your thoughts