written by:
July 30, 2010

Earlier this week, I spent two days in Phoenix, reporting a story for Dwell's upcoming December/January issue. My second afternoon, local architects Cy Keener and Jay Atherton offered to take me on a whirlwind tour of what's cool in their city. As a disclaimer Cy explained, as we trundled along in his white pickup, that in Phoenix, "'walking distance' is actually a five or ten minute drive" and that, sprawl notwithstanding, "if you know the places to go, you can live a wonderful life."

Our first stop was the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art for '90 Days Over 100°,' the architectural duo's first art installation, and their contribution to the museum's new 'Architecture + Art' series. Atherton and Keener built a cavern out of plywood
Our first stop was the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art for '90 Days Over 100°,' the architectural duo's first art installation, and their contribution to the museum's new 'Architecture + Art' series. Atherton and Keener built a cavern out of plywood sheathing and Tyvek, which channels sunlight to melt 1,200 pounds of ice suspended above. With water running down in rivulets, and dripping sounds all around, it was a cool and tranquil contrast to the 101-degree heat outside.
1 / 15
To enter the installation, you walk through a curtain made of curling lengths of polarfleece, and glimpse the exterior wooden skeleton of the structure.
To enter the installation, you walk through a curtain made of curling lengths of polarfleece, and glimpse the exterior wooden skeleton of the structure.
2 / 15
Next we stopped by the three-year-old Prayer Pavilion of Light, a minimalist chapel designed by local architects DeBartolo Architects. At night the chapel glows through its many layers of translucent glass, fulfilling the architects' vision of the buildin
Next we stopped by the three-year-old Prayer Pavilion of Light, a minimalist chapel designed by local architects DeBartolo Architects. At night the chapel glows through its many layers of translucent glass, fulfilling the architects' vision of the building as a 'lantern on a hill.'
3 / 15
Keener leads the way through the chapel's entrance, through gigantic cast-bronze doors inscribed with the Lord's Prayer.
Keener leads the way through the chapel's entrance, through gigantic cast-bronze doors inscribed with the Lord's Prayer.
4 / 15
A highlight of the day was a visit to Wendell Burnette's house, which he built in 1995, at the same time as he worked for Will Bruder and served as the project lead on Phoenix's celebrated Burton Barr Central Library. The house is built into a hillside an
A highlight of the day was a visit to Wendell Burnette's house, which he built in 1995, at the same time as he worked for Will Bruder and served as the project lead on Phoenix's celebrated Burton Barr Central Library. The house is built into a hillside and spans two concrete monoliths.
5 / 15
My favorite detail in the kitchen.
My favorite detail in the kitchen.
6 / 15
The structure is split into two units, with the kitchen and living room connected to the bedrooms by an outdoor terrace and a set of innovative but rather precarious steel stairs, shown here. Burnette's sweet and slightly senile old dog can't climb them.
The structure is split into two units, with the kitchen and living room connected to the bedrooms by an outdoor terrace and a set of innovative but rather precarious steel stairs, shown here. Burnette's sweet and slightly senile old dog can't climb them.
7 / 15
Here's the "summer terrace," set in the shade below the main structure. You pass by it on your way up to the house. The water that runs down the concrete-coated hillside behind the butterfly chairs evaporates and creates a cooler microclimate. T
Here's the "summer terrace," set in the shade below the main structure. You pass by it on your way up to the house. The water that runs down the concrete-coated hillside behind the butterfly chairs evaporates and creates a cooler microclimate. To the right is a small plunge pool, where Burnette and his wife cool off each night before bed.
8 / 15
I also enjoy the look of this poured-in-place concrete bathtub, though it looks somewhat rough on the back.
I also enjoy the look of this poured-in-place concrete bathtub, though it looks somewhat rough on the back.
9 / 15
One of the things I was most excited to see was the Central Library's fifth floor, renowned for its acre-sized reading room, the largest in the country according to Burnette. The cavernous space is made more intimate by the individual reading lamps at eac
One of the things I was most excited to see was the Central Library's fifth floor, renowned for its acre-sized reading room, the largest in the country according to Burnette. The cavernous space is made more intimate by the individual reading lamps at each seat, a detail Burnette cribbed from the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.
10 / 15
Love the suspended clocks.
Love the suspended clocks.
11 / 15
The exposed infrastructure at each computer station—cables spiraling down from the ceiling—gives the place a surprisingly industrial feel.
The exposed infrastructure at each computer station—cables spiraling down from the ceiling—gives the place a surprisingly industrial feel.
12 / 15
Our last stop was the studio of Mayme Kratz, an artist who works largely with resin, embedding bones, dried plant material, and other natural objects on resin-coated boards. She considers some of her art-making "a way of journal-keeping." These are her "k
Our last stop was the studio of Mayme Kratz, an artist who works largely with resin, embedding bones, dried plant material, and other natural objects on resin-coated boards. She considers some of her art-making "a way of journal-keeping." These are her "knots," handmade nests built atop architectural drawings and frozen in resin.
13 / 15
Here, Kratz and Keener discuss her recent experiments with glass, such as these globes that perfectly record the shape of the animal skulls and starfish embedded (and incinerated) within them.
Here, Kratz and Keener discuss her recent experiments with glass, such as these globes that perfectly record the shape of the animal skulls and starfish embedded (and incinerated) within them.
14 / 15
Here's a glimpse at a shelf in Kratz's office, artfully arranged with some of the objects, materials, and clippings that inspire her art-making.
Here's a glimpse at a shelf in Kratz's office, artfully arranged with some of the objects, materials, and clippings that inspire her art-making.
15 / 15
Our first stop was the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art for '90 Days Over 100°,' the architectural duo's first art installation, and their contribution to the museum's new 'Architecture + Art' series. Atherton and Keener built a cavern out of plywood
Our first stop was the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art for '90 Days Over 100°,' the architectural duo's first art installation, and their contribution to the museum's new 'Architecture + Art' series. Atherton and Keener built a cavern out of plywood sheathing and Tyvek, which channels sunlight to melt 1,200 pounds of ice suspended above. With water running down in rivulets, and dripping sounds all around, it was a cool and tranquil contrast to the 101-degree heat outside.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016