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Meadowbrook Residence, Phoenix, United States

Wednesday 26 Nov 2008

Urban desert

Photograph by Bill Timmerman 
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16/12/10 matt simons, guemes island
It needs a Nike swoosh.

Atherton Keener create new Phoenix home. 

The Meadowbrook residence creates an opportunity to observe the changing light of the desert within an urban context. Inside, and out, the structure reveals a conversation between sun and site. Three spacious curved volumes receive color and shadow, while an adjacent compact bar addresses functional requirements. Each volume opens to a different solar orientation, and is sheltered by a polypropylene shade cloth that envelopes three sides of the structure. At the north and south, garden areas provide climatic anomalies in contrast with the austere exterior. A refuge from the harsh desert, each space quietly witness seasons of light.

Sited on an urban infill lot in central Phoenix, the project engages simply and directly with the realities of context and climate. Set back from the street, but not fenced in, the structure rises to equal the height of surrounding foliage. Mature oleander salvaged from the existing property create a porous green screen and a measure of privacy. New plantings are limited to the interior of the structure, leaving an abstract buffer zone between the building's walls and the site perimeter. All rainwater from the roof is directed to sustain these protected lush areas. Momentary respites from the desert, these shaded micro climates ease the transition from inside to out.

The resulting environment is not only sustainable from the perspective of urban planning, material, and energy use, but more critically successful in forging a sustainable relationship between occupant and surrounding. The sensory phenomena of the urban desert can be harsh and overwhelming. This structure offers a momentary mediation of these phenomena in which they can be more clearly discerned.

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Atherton | Keener

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