2008 | Phoenix, AZ | Private Residence | 7,740 sq ft
Throughout history humankind has built on mountains and hillsides. Fortifications and defense are inherent in an elevated rocky slope. Furthermore, the construction site often supplied the stone necessary for the imposing retaining walls, segmented ramparts, and soaring parapets. The ratio of mass/ weight and penetration/ void yielded an impression of impenetrable solidity.
One could describe this project as a modern castle. Instead of quarried site stone, a special sand and gravel mix block without cinders was sandblasted to respect the predominantly decomposed granite hillside. There is no distinction between retaining wall, room enclosure, parapet or deck rail to be found in the foundation platform.
Hidden deep and carved into rock is a secret interior meditation space without a perceived exterior. Its location requires instruction and recalls forgotten childhood fantasies of turrets, water wells, caves and tunnels. Its vertical, conical construction relies on the mason’s ancient technique of corbelling. Without corners, the spiraling masonry ascends 2 ½ stories to gather its zenith sunlight.