Award-winning minimalist design driven by clients’ unique pet-related needs
Architects Kathy Hancox and Michael Kothke have been creating minimalist gems for over two decades in British Columbia, San Francisco, and, for the past 14 years, Tucson. They’ve designed homes with the cold, the heat, the rain, and the sun in the mind. But cats had never been a factor. Until now.
“We’d never had an animal-focused project before,” says Hancox, of HK Associates in Tucson. “So it was a fun challenge to come up with a design.”
The couple’s clients own more than a dozen rescue cats that require being separated into three colonies, so Hancox and Kothke got to work figuring out a way to accommodate the felines and provide their pet parents with the indoor-outdoor living they also requested for their first custom home.
What the architects came up with is the Courtyard House, a 3,500-square-foot home with a spatially layered, free-flowing floor plan (in fact, the only interior door is to a powder room off the main living space) interspersed with a series of courtyards where the cats reside and Tucson’s bountiful natural light fills the interior.
The home has been a hit with Hancox and Kothke’s clients and, presumably, the cats. But it also was recognized as the American Institute of Architects’ Southern Arizona division as the 2016 Home of the Year. The same group also bestowed upon the husband-and-wife team the 2016 Honor Award for Distinguished Architect, no doubt for the architects’ use large glass to create visual and physical indoor-outdoor connections.
“There’s the illusion that from certain angles that all the courtyards are connected. It’s interesting because you can look from one courtyard through the inside of the home through another courtyard through another courtyard to the outside of the home,” says Kothke. “The main courtyard is U-shaped, and then there’s a series of four smaller courtyards that really create unique outdoor spaces.”
And leading to the main courtyard from main living/kitchen/dining area is a massive, four-panel Western Window Systems Series 600 Multi-Slide Door, which seamlessly merges the interior with the outdoors, letting in natural light and fresh air that courses through the open floor plan.
Also opening to the main courtyard on either side of it, with the master suite on one side and the office and guest bedroom on the other, are Series 600 Sliding Doors flanked by huge floor-to-ceiling fixed windows from Western Window Systems.
“Our objective is always to do something that’s elegant and timeless and modern.” Kathy Hancox, partner, HK Associates
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“We all like to think of architecture in the daytime,” says architect Michael Kothke. “But this house is equally impressive at night.”
Custom Cat House
The architects liked the visual punch and economical price of Western Window Systems’ sliding glass doors.
HK Associates also designed the interior of the home, focusing on furniture that can withstand the rigors of the more than a dozen rescue cats living in the house.
Huge panels of glass give the clients the ability to see into any number of the home’s courtyards at once.