- Architect In Charge:Lance O’Donnell
- City:Palm Springs
- Country:United States
Text description provided by the architects. The residence's sloping, infill Sonora Desert location created both the project's greatest challenge and greatest opportunity. Surrounded by existing homes--two in particular enjoying a 50+ year unobstructed view over the land--made privacy and sight-lines, both from and towards the home, fundamental form givers. While seeking to improve and restore a native arroyo and its natural ground water recharge zone (this pristine area had not been touched by a previous owner's imported fill) the design set strict goals to maintain the area’s native fauna and flora.
The client's program called for an open plan utilizing durable materials and resource efficient foresight to create a 3 bedroom/3.5 bath, great room living home. Taken together, with the privacy desires, openness of plan, sloping site, preservation of undisturbed land, and infill condition resulted in 3,250 square foot design formed by two intersecting rectangular bars. To capture all elements of the program, the two intersecting rectangular bars form a "T" such that the lower master wing's roof becomes the upper kitchen's interior soffit and then this line continues out again to become the exterior roof of the breezeway and garage. The continuity of wall and roof plane are clearly perceptible and are further refined by avoiding the often awkward "T" program intersection with the inclusion of an open lanai. The lanai is strategically located as an open, deeply shaded transition from public pool and great room areas to the private master wing.
With the site sloping 20' from north to south and consisting of a combination of imported fill and native desert alluvium, the design set out to preserve and capture this natural alluvial arroyo, its 100+ year old creosote bushes, and undisturbed deeply patina weathered boulders. The design made evident the natural site slope by stepping the structure’s masses while preserving and reinforcing the arroyo and creating privacy from the uphill homes. Entering the home at the street grade conceals the unfolding grade change and unforeseen precession to the south pool yard and mountain views beyond.
Underpinning the home's fusion of indoor and outdoor living are timeless passive solar strategies and cross ventilation opportunities. Finally, the home’s south facing, downward sloping master wing roof has solar electric and solar thermal systems seamlessly integrated into the sloping roof, illustrating again how a building’s basic parti can become the backbone for modern sustainable living. Recent electrical utility data shows the home generating slightly more energy than consumed.