“Our goal was to make it feel like this house grew out of the natural landscape,” explains Ron Radziner, one of the architects behind a 5,000-square-foot oasis recently realized in the Sonoran Desert. Commissioned by a Midwestern couple, the project was the first Los Angeles-based design-build firm Marmol Radziner completed in the Grand Canyon State.
The firm is known for its award-winning modern designs, including the notable, sensitive renovation of the iconic Kaufmann Desert House in Palm Springs, Calif., designed by modernist Richard Neutra in 1946. The home’s original owner, Edgar J. Kaufmann, commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to build Fallingwater 10 years prior.
Though arid environs were nothing new to Marmol Radziner, this particular build also came with specific directives from the owners. “They wanted a home that would preserve the incredible views,” Radziner recalls, “and they wanted something simple and elegant that would blend seamlessly into the desert terrain.”
Before sketching, the firm had to consider how to situate the home to allow for the most privacy. Designers also had to study the way water would move across the site in a storm, since the 5-acre parcel has two washes. To that end, drainage courses were added and various elevations were incorporated into the structure’s design, resulting in sightlines that are equally pleasing from both the sunken outdoor patio and second-story office.
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