Project Description2004 CHDA
Custom Home less than 3,000 square feet / Merit Award
Though this loft-like home in the Arizona desert consists mostly of hard-edged, industrial materials, it manages to project a welcoming feeling. “There's a nice warmth to the interior despite the use of concrete,” said a judge. Architects Luis Ibarra and Teresa Rosano achieved this effect by mixing components with different textures, such as the post-tensioned concrete blocks used for the walls inside and out, smooth metal railings and window frames, and polished concrete floors. “The materials have a tactile quality,” says Rosano. “There's also a lot of birch cabinetry, which helps warm things up.”
The judges also commented on the home's compatibility with its rocky, steeply sloped site. “They didn't try to manipulate the external environment with lawns,” said one. Ibarra and Rosano designed a three-level floor plan that steps up the hill, and builder Page Repp drilled the foundation directly into solid rock. The house nestles snugly into the hillside, and the natural gray color of the concrete block matches the terrain and vegetation surrounding it.
Deft window placement makes the project seem larger than its 2,150 square feet. Long, narrow horizontal glass bands act to break open the boxy plan, while entire walls of windows let the outdoor pool and patio become extensions of the interior. The windows also bring in dramatic mountain views while promoting cross-ventilation. And punkah louvers in the open kitchen/living room push more fresh air through the space, reducing the need for air conditioning in Tucson's harsh climate.