Levin Residence

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Location: Dove Mountain - Marana, Arizona
Year Completed: Fall 2012

Square Footage: 3520 sq ft


Photographer: Bill Timmerman

Structural: Harris Engineering Services, Ilc

Mechanical / Electrical: Paul Formentini


Contractor: Process Design Build

Cabinets: Stone River Studio

Landscaping: The Garden Gate

Oriented to harness the sun, frame views and capture breezes, the house organizes its landscapes into distinct vignettes. In much the same way a photographer crops an image, the house organizes the landscape into more intelligible formats to focus and celebrate the natural environment.
Emanating from the challenges of the site, an ethic of building with minimal disruption to the natural environment, and the client’s brief - the Levin Residence results in three simple volumes hovering quietly above the desert floor.

The clients asked for a universally accessible home in which they could be fully immersed in the landscape, in constant engagement with the serenity and re-energizing power of the Sonoran Desert and its sky.

It is a simple, function-based plan supporting the concept of collapsibility, the idea of enabling the house to operate as a smaller home when guests are away.

These three vessels are wide shallow “tubes”, offset horizontally for north to south transparency. This horizontal shift creates protected and inviting intermediary exterior spaces while maintaining visual continuity across the site. The careful choreography of solid and void transforms the house into a gallery of living desert still-life ‘murals’ and vignettes.

These design moves blur the distinction between the rugged surroundings and transport spectators out into the wild of the mountains, the flora, fauna and valley of lights.

Because the client’s brief called for no steps, the floors remain level as the earth falls away, resulting in cantilevered volumes, whose understory and orientation provide desert animals refuge from the harsh desert sun.

The careful integration of this home in its setting helps immerse the clients into their surroundings while respecting the land upon which it sits.

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