Category Archives: Architecture

Desert City House in Paradise Valley

Located on a relatively flat one acre parcel, the site is opposite the Arizona Canal with panoramic views to the Squaw Peak Mountain reserve to the north and Camelback Mountain to the east. The house designed by Marwan Al-Sayed Architects is conceived as a thick mass casting, with two one story volumes defining the entry courtyard and acting as a base for the plaster volume upper story bridge, which houses the main living, dining, and kitchen spaces, as well as outdoor dining decks. This “reverse” living plan makes sense in the hot dry desert climate of Paradise Valley. Bedrooms on the ground level are semi sunken into the earth, affording privacy, shade, and immediacy to the surrounding desert floor. The bedrooms stay cool and intimate- while the upper public level affords the spectacular views of the surrounding topography and participates in the constant light show of vast sky, clouds and colors that so typifies the urban desert experience.


In deliberate contrast to the lower mass, protruding mysterious glass Light Monitors serve to absorb the abundant sky and sun, and simultaneously, act as a thermal draw for fresh air intakes that allow the house to naturally cool during the shoulder seasons. At night, these Monitors glow against the dark sky. The material palette is kept deliberately monotone to help accentuate the subtle green-grays, silvers and green casts of the desert landscape. Integral white cast concrete walls (20” thick) lend an almost classical, Mediterranean effect, while helping dissipate and reflect heat gain via the ‘albedo; effect. Plaster volumes are also rendered in shades of white. The overall effect of the plaster volumes and translucent white glass light monitors is a subtle white-on-white tonal range, accentuated internally with small subtle shades of green, green yellow, and black through the use of tile, wood, and resin. Urban desert living is made simple, graced by strong apertures in thick walls, slightly inflected and with proportions more commonly found in ancient cities than the cities and homes that surround us today.



Cantilever House in Kuala Lumpur

Steeply sloping site with rainforest views. The house by Design Unit Sdn Bhd is designed to ‘float’ within a valley – touching it lightly, and allowing the natural slope to remain.


Consisting 2 independent structures – a 2 storey living & bedroom block constructed of exposed structural steel supported on a ‘forest’ of irregular spaced columns. This steel structure is cantilevered over a lower independent structure housing an art gallery and constructed of off-form concrete and includes a green roof garden and swimming pool.


The house is entered by a ramp – heightening our awareness to the valley, the floating block and also the separation from the ordinary. A courtyard is created by the 2 independent structures that are orientated on different axis creating a tension between them and strengthening the identity of each as separate functions.


Kasita has outsized functionality in an undersized footprint. From ceiling to floor, every last cubic inch is designed to maximize the home dweller’s experience. The result: an exceptional small home that contains everything you need and nothing you don’t.


They say the best ideas come from unexpected places. That’s certainly proven true for Kasita CEO Jeff Wilson, who lived in a 33 sq. ft. dumpster for a year to test the limits of habitable space. While the experiment was extreme, the experience he gained by living small and simple made a big impression. At the end of the year, he left the dumpster with the concept for a new category of housing—a beautiful, small footprint home designed as a solution for the growing housing crisis. He called it Kasita.


Find out more here.

Tom’s Hut in Wienerwald

This simple house designed by Raumhochrosen is strongly related to its surroundings, it follows the outline of a dilapidated predecessor building and was drawn around a man and his passions. The hut can be opened to different views. Prefabricated from wood, everything necessary is located in a small space. A distinctive structural identity becomes a partner, a place of retreat, but also hospitality and personal development. Find, seek shelter, rest, nourish and find harmony. Then look out. Vision.



Cefn Castell in Criccieth North Wales



Cefn Castell by stephenson STUDIO is a new build contemporary family home on an isolated cliff top location overlooking Cardigan bay in Criccieth North Wales. It is a replacement for a dilapidated 400 year old former cottage that stood on the site.


The new house is designed using solid, void and frame as new elements in glass and render,  with the backdrop of a monumental natural stone wall constructed from the remains of the existing cottage which envelopes the new house. The plan maximises panoramic views from each room, and also links a series of inner spaces internal to external via the use of expansive sliding glazed screens.