La Quinta, California
Project Size: 10,650 square feet
Program: The clients wanted their house, located near the Santa Rosa Mountains 30 miles west of Palm Springs, to blend in with the desert landscape. They needed protection from extreme summer heat and harsh winds, but wanted to take advantage of desert and mountain views with indoor-outdoor living spaces and floor-to-ceiling glazing.
Solution: The house—organized as two rectangular wings made of locally quarried stone, concrete, and wood—straddles a central courtyard that opens along an east-west axis. A pair of concrete slabs bridge the two volumes, cantilevering out to form a terrace on the second story and a broad roof above that.
Dining, kitchen, and living areas, arranged in an open plan and running perpendicular to the two wings, are enclosed with operable glass panels that can pivot open to the courtyard to the east and the pool to the west. The south side of the building contains a garage, two offices, a wine room, and a media room opening out to a covered terrace facing the mountains, while the north volume has a row of four guest rooms and a two-story fireplace block. A second story, with a master suite and terrace, sits on top of the living spaces and bridges the two wings below.
While the house opens in every direction, four-foot-thick stone-and-concrete walls, deeply recessed glazing, and large cantilevered overhangs together protect the house from desert solar gain. The courtyard reflecting pool and swimming pool provide evaporative cooling on the first floor, while the chimney draws out heat from both floors. High performance glass and efficient mechanical systems and fixtures reduce energy use, while photovoltaic panels provide an alternative source of energy.
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
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