Santa Cruz County, AZ
The surrounding landscape for the residence can be characterized by undulating bedrock formations with jutting, oxidized outcroppings. The site is remote and elevated above the desert below. It is a dry grassland with oaks, mesquites, seasonal wildflowers, and is interlaced with lush riparian areas.
Moving through the terrain, one is presented with the interplay of expansiveness and intimacy, one moment seeing distant layered mountains, and the next, immediate rock faces and the dense foliage of cottonwood and willow trees. The violence of monsoonal storms, the daily arc of the sun, and the nightly array of stars attest to a sublime vastness overhead. Here the natural world is the undisputed main character.
The residence is designed to play a supporting role in response to this unique environment. Its programmatic components are paired with specific spatial and phenomenal aspects of the given landscape. Anchoring the composition, the Living Room pavilion gathers in the view of Mount Wrightson and helps to define an adjacent outdoor room populated by ocotillo and walled by two jagged rock faces.
The remaining interior spaces are draped around the Southern and Eastern edges of the Living Room, each focusing on select rock outcroppings, groupings of mesquites, or subtle recesses in the adjacent hillside. A roof deck assists in connecting with distant views and provides prime seating for the theater of the night sky. Materially, the residence takes direct cues from the surroundings, using local stone, pigmented plaster, and oxidized steel.
The San Cayetano Mountain Residence is carefully designed to merge with its environment. The composition is a modest assembly of three buildings, with adjacent landscape-integrated infrastructural pieces. The center piece of the design is the Main House, which contains the majority of living spaces. Detached Studio and Carport structures provide spatial extensions toward a linear rock spine which defines the Northern edge of the compound.
The home is woven into the landscape by pairing outdoor spaces with interior ones. The Living Room, Dining Room, and Kitchen all have exterior counterparts. Each of the Bedrooms has a secluded exterior sitting area, and the Master Bath opens to an exterior shower.
Each building is constructed of both structural and light gauge steel, clad in plaster and fiber-cement board. Diaphanous oxidized steel screens help blur the exterior edges. Local stone extends the composition into the landscape, and makes subtle distinctions between domesticated exterior space and more rugged, natural terrain. The exquisite natural setting necessitates strong visual connections. As a result, strategically placed insulated glass panels provide expansive openings within the exterior envelope.
Shading is provided by cantilevered roof planes, and horizontal shade screens that fold down to secure the residence in the event of prolonged absences. Fixed trellises aid in defining outdoor rooms adjacent to the Lap Pool as well as the outdoor Kitchen and Dining Rooms. The fireplace is rendered in crushed lava as an homage to the geologic origins of the land.