The Xeros Residence / Blank Studio

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Architects: Blank Studio
Location: Phoenix, AZ,
Structural Engineer: BDA Engineers
Landscape Design: DBLD
Electrical Engineer: Tony Woo Engineering
Mechanical + Plumbing: Kunka Engineering
Civil + Solis: Fugro South
General Contractor: 180 Degrees
Constructed Area: 209 sqm
Project year: 2006
Photography: Bill Timmerman

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The Xeros project is sited within a late 1950’s era neighborhood where the urban grid of Phoenix, Arizona is overtaken by the organic land forms of the north phoenix mountain preserve. Located at the end of two dead-end streets, the Xeros residence is positioned upon the upward slope of a 50’x 250’ double lot facing the mountain preserve to the north and the city center to the south.

site plan
site plan

The building parti includes a two-story lower level design studio that descends down into the earth with a single story residence that exists above the studio that is accessed solely by an external stair. The path to the studio level requires that the guest pass behind the mesh screen and descend a short flight of stairs into an exterior, mesh-enclosed forecourt. A stainless steel water feature leads you down the steps and terminates at a reflecting pool. A 3-1/2 foot wide by 19-1/2 tall steel-framed glass door offers entry into the studio from the courtyard. To access the residence, the visitor ascends an exterior steel staircase to an upper level balcony before entering the common room (sitting, dining, and kitchen). The visitor continues through a central gallery towards the cantilevered master suite / media room. This space is completely glazed on the north façade to enjoy the mountain preserve views. To complete the cycle of movement, a cantilevered yellow-glass framed ‘Romeo and Juliet’ balcony allows views back to the city and across the long axis of the building.

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The primary building material is exposed steel (as structure, cladding, and shading) that is allowed to weather naturally and meld with the color of the surrounding hills.

Called ‘Xeros’ (from the Greek for ‘dry’) as a reminder that all design solutions should be in a direct response to the environment in which the project exists – the building has several environmentally responsible decisions. The form turns an opaque face towards the intense western afternoon sun and the more exposed faces to the south and east are shielded by an external layer of woven metal shade mesh. The long, narrow lot precipitated very tall from with a petite foot print allows the maximum amount of site to be retained for vegetation. The low-water use vegetation is positioned around the residence to add to the shading effect of the screen. The site itself was ‘recycled’ in that new life was injected into a neglected plot in a neglected Phoenix neighborhood.

Cite: "The Xeros Residence / Blank Studio" 19 Aug 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 Jul 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=32620>

16 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Strange there is no visual/spacial connection between the work and living areas. If its really just a design studio below, why no shared double height space? Otherwise, nice project.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Lovely.
    Smart and livable plan, plus it’s well executed and detailed.
    The sectional quality is very interesting, I’m sure the views are stunning from that height.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I love the plan, is really fine executed, really clean details, but i just have to questions, where is the relationship between the studio and the house, it looks like a house above a comercial space (could be) totally desintegrated, and how this house works on a 115 degree summer?
    Still i love it, well i am kind of snob :)

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This house is only a 15 minute drive for me. So I plan on looking at it someday. Hell I might leave my resume at the front door when I am done with school! As for the seperation, I think its clear. If you have interns working for you… or the ocasional consultant droping by… I wouldnt want that to be shared with my private space. I could be wrong… but it makes sense to me. Overall I love it. Great form. Looks glamorous in the night shots…

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It looks poorly at odds with its neighborhood, a tiny castle surrounded by massive huts.

    @Rus – I assume your talking about the environment. If not, in its way, the house reflects the minimal, plain talk of the desert. A subtle whisper at times and a massive canvas that shouts color at others. I dont care for the house all that much otherwise and Phoenix is a searing, characterless void (a ghost town in fifty years) but once you understand it the desert is an amazing place.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    funny how environmentally responsible allows one to put a “water feature” into a climate that is suffering from a lack of water. pat yourself on the back for being mindful of the issues related to living and building in a desert.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    details are nice! but the interior space is like no other!!! really! like a theater! its fantasy!

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    interesting – a little shocking in some ways, but interesting. naturally it isn’t (or doesn’t appear to be) environmentally sensitive which it should be in some way. the form, its siting (directly adjacent to the road way), its environmental and built context is somewhat paradoxical but somehow still works – i’m not sure how or why. it probably poses more questions than answers to me . . .

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