Camelback Residence by Hagy Belzberg
Architects & Firms
On an acre of desert land in a low-density Phoenix suburb, part-owner of a national baseball team and single dad Jay Stein commissioned Santa Monica–based architect Hagy Belzberg to design a primary residence for him and his four children. In doing so, Belzberg wanted to capture the view of Camelback Mountain, for which the house is named, while preventing direct western sunlight from blazing through the 10,000-square-foot, five-bedroom house. To achieve this, he created a low-slung building as a series of linear pavilions. Up to 30-foot-long cantilevered roofs shoot out to the front—where local landscape architecture firm Floor Associates designed a garden of indigenous plants—as well as to the back patio and pool. The roofs’ extensions visually emphasize sight lines from within the living spaces, while protecting them from the sun’s rays.
During the warmer months, fully glazed panels can slide into pockets within the house’s concrete walls. Freestanding concrete partitions divide the main living and dining spaces and partially enclose the house’s exterior entrance pathway yet maintain a sense of openness throughout.
The children have their own bedroom wing on the northeast side of the compound, as well as a separate study area located within a distinct rectilinear volume angled away from the main structure. This separate building also includes the garage, gym, and storage space.
Generously sized social areas, as well as abundant exterior gathering spaces and nooks, such as a gazebo of laminated wood slats at the house’s front, provide the family with numerous areas to be alone or together and still enjoy the landscaping and surrounding mountainous topography. Says the architect about the overall concept: “The idea is to draw people through the house, pulling them to the outdoors.”