Thursday, June 25, 2009

House With a Sunshade

"Operation Desert Shed"
Dwell (undated, probably June, 2009)

"Architect Lloyd Russell’s design for this desert getaway passively mitigates the elements with a utilitarian solution, turning a modest modern retreat into a hardy, region-appropriate home.

"The desert is a study in ecological extremes—–a place where the elements of nature and climate are inextricably intertwined with every form of life. In the iconic Southern California desert city of Palm Springs, these environmental factors have long been regarded as forces to be reckoned with and conquered in order to maintain a climate-controlled lifestyle. Beyond the golf courses and swimming pools, though, the desert still exists...."

The exterior of this house might not appeal to everyone: "...Its rusting, corrugated-steel-clad walls alternate with large sliding glass that give the home a rustic feeling,..."

What makes this house more than an exercise in eccentric taste is its sunshade.

The house itself is a flat-topped rectangle. It sits at one side of what is essentially a metal pole barn with no walls. This second roof shades the living portion of the house.

The article gives a pretty good overview of how the house works, a short history of the area, and a glimpse at the aesthetic taste of the owner.

I think that owner Jim Austin and architect Lloyd Russell are on to something here.

They didn't invent the idea of a house-sized sunshade. As a reader commented, people in trailer parks have been erecting shades for their homes for years.

What struck me about this design is that an architect designed a house for the American southwest that had a shade from the get-go.

Traditional architecture for that sort of climate often used thermal mass - very thick stone, brick, or dried mud walls - to stay warm in the cold nights and relatively cool during the day.

Using pole barn technology to put at least part of the house in the shade is smart design. And, since the patched-trailer look is essentially cosmetic, the design could, I think, be made appealing to the general public.

1 comment:

Norma said...

The sunshade on the house looks very unique. A sunshade is a great idea and a great way to make a house have an extra area to be protected against the sun's harmful rays and even from the rain. However, before deciding which sunshade to add to your home, it is important to do your research first.McGraw Hill's Sweet Directory of construction products honestly offers a great deal of extremely useful information. Though I work for them, I use them myself because they have always proven to be a huge help when I am planning a home improvement project. The CAD details that you can download from their site are particularly useful. I highly recommend them.

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