Desert courtyard house in Arizona, by Wendell Burnette Architects

Located on a rural site in the sonoran desert outside of scottsdale, arizona, wendell burnette architects has designed and completed a house shaped around a central courtyard. The scheme seeks to blend with the exterior environment, and provide views of the context’s scenery, containing granite outcroppings and towering saguaro cacti. These elements, along with carefully selected materials, are incorporated into the residence to maintain the site’s sense of place. The structure is conceived as a ‘plinth’ elevated above the landscape, which is composed as a continuous mass that is hollowed, faceted, and broken to create a sequence of indoor and outdoor spaces.

The courtyard arrangement provides multiple aspects of comfort for the residence, including air, light, privacy, security, and tranquility. The outdoor area is occupied by granite boulders and local vegetation, while complemented by stone patios and an elongated pool of water. The interiors feature large glass walls on the internal side, with multiple sliding doors to link spaces directly with the exterior. Additionally, a glass floor through a main walkway reveals the desert topography below.

The residence is enclosed by monolithic floors and walls, made of concrete and earthen material and partially clad in weathering bronze panels. After soil sample testing, the design team discovered the land removed during the project’s excavation could be used in the structure’s rammed earth walls. this strategy allowed for reduced material transport to the site.















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