Tom Walker

Tom Walker

New York, NY, US


Phoenix House, Messana O'Rorke

A landscape charatcterized by abrupt change in elevation, alternating between rugged narrow mountain chains aand flat arid valleys is the landscape of this house located East of the town of Fountain Hills and West of the Tonto National Forrest. This vast and strikingly beautiful desert landscape is the inspiration for the design. The tectonic mechanisms responsible for the landscape, where mountain ranges seem to slide past each other, is emulated by massive parallel walls of the house.

Four sets of poured in place concrete parallel walls form the boundary of the house to the North and South, between which a shading roof is stretched, perpendicular walls of stainless steel framed glass complete the enclosure. The climate of Arizona is primarily dry with large temperature swings between day and night. The architecture of the house responds to this environment both actively and passively. Geothermal technology will maintain a constant temperature inside the house, photovoltaic cells will generate electricity, solar panels will augment hot water requirements and the massive steel walls will gather heat during the day, and radiate this heat back to the house and courtyards at night.

The internal plan of the house is divided by massive walls of storage and utility, which in turn are divided by a sky lit corridor through the spine of the house; dividing public and private space. The living, dining and kitchen space overlook the pool courtyard, beyond a deeply shaded verandah, which the desert between the portal of the steel walls.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Phoenix, AZ, US
My Role: Developed conceptual strategy; assisted project architect and produced all documentation for preliminary and detail design submissions; helped project architect to identify and resolve areas requiring design development; constructed and provided model to