O-asis House

O-asis House

Architect
The Ranch Mine
Location
Phoenix, Arizona, USA | View Map
Project Year
2020
Category
Private Houses
Stories By
The Ranch Mine

Western Window Systems
Roehner + Ryan
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct Name
ManufacturersWestern Window Systems
CountertopsCosentino
Veracuz unfilledDurango Stone
Faucets, Sinks and MirrorsKohler
Powerwall and Solar ArrayTesla

Product Spec Sheet
Veracuz unfilled
Faucets, Sinks and Mirrors
by Kohler
Powerwall and Solar Array
by Tesla

O-asis

The Ranch Mine as Architects

Nestled on the north side of the Phoenix mountain preserve sits a once neglected and underutilized site in a horse property neighborhood, now transformed into a secluded native habitat and respite from city life. ‘O-asis’ is a new, solar powered home designed to integrate modern life with the timeless beauty of music, sunlight, and desert flora and fauna.

photo_credit Roehner + Ryan
Roehner + Ryan
photo_credit Roehner + Ryan
Roehner + Ryan

‘O-asis’ sits low in the desert at just 12.5 feet tall, partially surrounded by a rusted steel rattlesnake fence and finished in white stucco with recessed niches of wood. Its strong horizontal form was designed as a datum for highlighting the dramatic shapes of the desert landscape. The pool breaks from the ‘O’ shaped plan, drawing you out into the desert towards the mountain views to the south, and is capped by a built-in fire pit bench. The landscape is an elevated native Sonoran desert plant palate designed to encourage biodiversity for native flora and fauna within a landscape that is always evolving from season to season. Topography was finessed and exaggerated to connect natural drainage areas and habitat, while providing strategic screening and privacy.

photo_credit Roehner + Ryan
Roehner + Ryan
photo_credit Roehner + Ryan
Roehner + Ryan

Upon entering the home you are greeted by a central courtyard, a time tested strategy for living in the desert, that brings in indirect natural light, fresh air, and unique plants that function like an art gallery for the homeowners, ever changing with light, shadow, growth and seasons. Pocketing glass doors on either side of the main living space funnel cool breezes through the house while providing a seamless indoor/outdoor flow, transforming the main living areas of the house into a covered open air space in seconds. The great room features areas of walnut slats backed with acoustic felt to provide a fantastic sound quality for the homeowner, a skillful pianist, who can record music on the piano and have it played back during the day, accompanying the ever-changing beauty of the courtyard plants. Like the piano, almost everything in the house can be controlled wirelessly, such as the lights, the speakers, the blinds, the locks, cameras and so on.

photo_credit Roehner + Ryan
Roehner + Ryan
photo_credit Roehner + Ryan
Roehner + Ryan

Hidden in one of the slat walls, a pivot door leads to the primary suite. The primary suite turns convention on its head, limiting the size of the bedroom to just enough room for the built-in bed, using most of the space for the spa inspired bathroom and retail inspired closet. A 4-sided, sky lit island provides his and her vanities, a makeup area, and a bench while a limestone clad steam shower provides a rejuvenating refuge around the corner. On the other side of the great room, a yoga room runs right up to the desert floor, with cork flooring providing a soft surface on which to practice. Behind the courtyard is a garage with Tesla Powerwall batteries and solar on the roof, as well as an in-law suite which was designed to have its own entrance and outdoor spaces.

photo_credit Roehner + Ryan
Roehner + Ryan
photo_credit Roehner + Ryan
Roehner + Ryan

Materials Used : 

1. Western Window Systems – Windows and Doors
2. Kohler – Faucets, Sinks and Mirrors
3. Dekton - Countertops

Connecting Back to Nature

Western Window Systems as Manufacturers

A courtyard-centered design creates a cool desert oasis.

When a Phoenix couple wanted a retreat from city life, they asked architecture firm The Ranch Mine to design a sustainable, minimalist home on a 1.7-acre horse property in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.

The result: A solar-powered, low-lying home that rises just 12.5 feet above the landscape, surrounded by Sonoran desert plants. The house spans 4,090 square feet and was designed in an O-shape with a courtyard centerpiece.

“One of the first things we did was to look at ways to live in the desert that have been happening for thousands of years and even just a few hundred years here in the desert Southwest, and that was to create a courtyard-style home,” explains Cavin Costello, principal architect of The Ranch Mine. “By creating a courtyard, you create a mini micro-climate inside the house.”

The 18-foot by 58-foot courtyard not only gives the homeowners’ dogs an outdoor space that’s safe from desert predators, but facilitates better ventilation throughout the house and gives the interior spaces indirect natural light. The courtyard is accessed through Series 600 Multi-Slide Doors and framed by floor-to-ceiling Series 600 Window Wall all around.

“We want to create places that honor the past, challenge the norm, and then inspire the future. Windows and doors are really critical in allowing us to do the latter part of that, which is challenge the norm and inspire the future,” Costello says.

The front door of the home opens to views of the courtyard, which Costello says replaces traditional accent walls or artwork with a large glass opening displaying desert flora around a 500-year-old ironwood tree. Behind the courtyard is an 860 square-foot in-law suite with its own entrance and outdoor spaces.

Wooden slat walls enhance the acoustics in the main space, where the homeowners enjoy playing their grand piano. Hidden in one of those slat walls is a Series 980 pivot door that leads into the master suite.

Series 600 Multi-Slide Doors on either side of the main living space channel fresh air through the home and quickly convert the interior into a covered open-air space. “When the doors and windows of the main living space are open, it essentially transforms the indoor living space into an outdoor living space,” Costello says.

“Western Window Systems provides doors with minimal sightlines that are very easy to operate,” Costello continues. “Because these are being opened and closed relatively frequently, we want to make sure it’s a very seamless open-and-close situation.”

Because temperatures in Phoenix frequently exceed triple digits in the summers, mitigating heat from solar radiation was critical. One solution Costello employed was to completely forgo any west-facing windows in the home, and instead install windows on the west elevation facing north and south.

Western Window Systems products with low-e, argon-filled glass helped Costello meet his energy objectives for the home. “The solar heat gain coefficient is really critical here in Phoenix. We get so much solar radiation that we really need to keep a high majority of it out,” he says. “Western Window Systems does a great job of that, and then the U-value is great, as well, in terms of minimizing the heat gain through the window frames.”

The pool projects out from the O-shaped design, an elongated oasis oriented toward the desert mountain views to the south. The pool features a fire pit bench on one end, to further draw folks outdoors and into the landscape.

“Traditionally, homes were created as shelter,” Costello says. “We want to take that idea but also wanted to connect humans back to nature.”

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