The Miller|Hull Partnership of Seattle is known for rigorously designed and executed custom homes and condo buildings, but Safari Drive, a sustainable mixed-use development in Scottsdale, Ariz., marks its maiden voyage as master planner and architect. “We typically do one-building solutions,” says partner Craig Curtis, FAIA, LEED AP. “It's very exciting for us.”

A partnership between Vanguard City Home and The Wolff Co., Safari is a resort-style 14-acre project comprising retail, hotel, office space, and residential. Phase I, currently under construction, consists of seven three- to five-story buildings with underground parking. “Once the cars were gone, we were free to create whatever [above-ground] atmosphere we wanted,” Curtis says.

Miller|Hull's four-phase plan stresses outdoor living and pedestrian circulation, emphasizing the interstitial spaces as much as the structures. It calls for a variety of parks, trails, courtyards, and outdoor public art.

Phase I includes 95 units of flats, townhouse-style units, and live/work lofts ranging from 900 to 2,300 square feet. ”Almost every unit will be unique,” Curtis says, and will feature floor-to-ceiling glass, concrete floors, and 100 to 1,900 square feet of outdoor space. The buildings will have undulating skins to create shade pockets that reduce heat gain; additional shading techniques will protect individual units from the harsh climate and western exposure as well. The architects also worked with mechanical engineers to design an evaporative tower to cool outdoor spaces.

Phase I is scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer, and Phase II will likely begin mid-year. Units are priced from $699,000 to $2.2 million.

Credit: The Miller|Hull Partnership

Miller|Hull wrapped Safari Drive's buildings in insulated concrete blocks and low-maintenance materials such as stucco, weathered steel, and exposed concrete.

Miller|Hull wrapped Safari Drive's buildings in insulated concrete blocks and low-maintenance materials such as stucco, weathered steel, and exposed concrete.

Credit: The Miller|Hull Partnership