House by the Desert
Located in the valley of a mountainous desert region, the house functions as retreat to become immersed in the immense natural landscape. Comprised primarily of a main living space, kitchen, workspace and bedroom, the house also has several non-prescriptive nooks and crannies to dwell within and appreciate the environment.
The house attempts to dissolve the clear threshold of the building envelope with a series of angled cuts that permeate the south facade of the house, bringing diffused light into its spaces as well as utilizing a series of shaded external water pools to provide evaporative cooling. The main living area takes advantages of these light wells as well as a large expansive window facing North across the desert towards the mountains. The houses interior spaces have the qualities of the rock cut architecture, giving a sense of dwelling within a cool, solid, and secure space within the harsh desert climate. It mixes both fabricated and found, natural objects in providing its character. The house is designed to have spaces for both human and non-human inhabitants, creating a variety of pockets and zones within and around the façade of the central area for both plants and local fauna to dwell within.
The buildings form is generated through procedural design systems that iteratively calculate the shadows from the existing rocks on site, in turn carving the houses mass. These carved zones define void spaces within the building for water pools, outdoor patios and the afore mentioned lightwells that provide indirect light to its interior. The mass has further, carefully placed opening that have a variety of interpretations ranging from harsh orthogonal cuts to openings more akin to those formed in rock formations through natural processes.
The house aims to operate in the ambiguous territory between natural and artifactual as its expression oscillates from the repetitive expression of the digital design process used in its formation and the lithic qualities of its surface texture. Rather than try to replicate or mimic the desert context, it uses it as a tool to bring ambiguity to the understanding of the building and its origin, inviting the viewer to look closer and appreciate its details. Made of 3d printed sand, the house evokes and has similar qualities of surrounding rock formations, from a distance, it appears as if an ancient structure has been cut into and assembled from the landscape. Upon closer inspection, the layering of the 3d printing process and the interlocking angular geometries of the blocks reveal its assembled, artifactual condition.