Initially built by native dwellers 2000 years ago and rebuilt for modern society over a century ago are 181 miles of canals that bring water to the desert city of Phoenix, Arizona. These canals often go unnoticed, as the city has largely turned their back on these assets until recently. Canal House is a new home inspired by the forms of the missions in southern Arizona on a left over, irregularly shaped vacant lot along the Arizona Canal. The Ranch Mine designed the home to be a beacon, glimmering in the sun with its rusted, corrugated metal roof, drawing focus to the life giving resource slicing through the gridded city.

Canal House was designed to the furthest extents of the building setbacks, using the geometry of the house to create shade and privacy in a variety of settings. Similar to the missions of southern Arizona, the design opens out from the interior spaces to courtyards that provide additional living areas at different times of day, depending on the location of the sun. The most often shaded area is the dining courtyard along the canal off of the kitchen, with two new Red Push Pistache trees that transition from green to bright red leaves to signal the coming of the cool seasons in Phoenix. The central courtyard is anchored by a rusted steel clad outdoor fireplace that separates the living wing of the house from the sleeping wing. Custom designed steel panels shade the great room doors in the summer with a pattern of the archetypal house form that features prominently on the Canal House elevations. Lastly, an entry courtyard provides a quiet, contemplative area between the house and the garage.

On the interior of the house, a rusted steel clad hood draws the eye up to the vaulted, tongue and groove hemlock ceiling in the great room. The kitchen is highlighted by super durable Dekton countertops, hand-made Fireclay ceramic tile in a herringbone pattern, and a copper farmhouse sink. Aluminum clad, wood doors and exposed aggregated concrete floors add texture and warmth to the interior. The master bathroom contains an open shower with a freestanding tub and is finished with a stripe of the hand-made ceramic tile and cabinetry echoing the vaulted ceiling of the great room.

This reimagining of the local mission architecture deftly uses simple, durable materials and a unique courtyard focused plan to create a home well-suited for its desert environment while drawing attention back to the lifeblood of Phoenix, the canals.

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Canal House along the Arizona Canal in Phoenix, AZ

Central Courtyard at twilight

Front view at twilight

Master Bathroom Vanity

Custom cut steel awning. The awning design uses the archetypal gable shape of the house and rotates it to create the perforated pattern

View from the kitchen to the dining and living room beyond

Master Bedroom

Kitchen with the custom steel hood, Fireclay ceramic tile backsplash in a herringbone pattern, and Dekton counters

Central Courtyard anchored by a fireplace with the vaulted great room on the left, and bedroom wing on the right.

The great room is highlighted by a rusted metal custom hood at the end of the space, with courtyards on both sides

Waterfall edge on the Dekton counter. The floors are exposed aggregate concrete

Great room with vaulted ceiling and flooded with natural light from the north and south

View from the master bedroom across the central courtyard

Canal Courtyard off of the living area

Entry Court

View over the Canal

Street view of the double gable

Canal Courtyard dining area

Central Courtyard

Entry Court

  • Boxwell Southwest


  • 3
  • Full Baths
  • 2
  • Partial Baths
  • 1
  • Structure
  • House (Single Residence)
  • Style
  • Modern
  • Year
  • 2017
  • Square Feet
  • 2505
  • Lot Size
  • 9283 SF