Blank Studio Design + Architecture

Urban Courtyard Residence

Phoenix, Arizona, USA (2008)

The site for the Urban Courtyard Residence is located within a late 1950’s era neighborhood in northern Phoenix consisting of relatively small lots (50’ x 125’). The enclave is nestled within the North Phoenix Mountain Preserve just a few city blocks to the north of the site.    

The project site offers limited exterior view potential at the ground level due to the proximity of the adjacent residential development but opportunities exist to the north and south of the site if lofted. The building is therefore characterized by its relationship with the exterior environments with four primary engagements. The ground floor level contains two sleeping suites; the guest spaces are north-facing and have access to a shallow exterior courtyard space. A deep, south-facing courtyard exists off the master suite. This master court contains an old-growth Ironwood tree that offers shade to both the courtyard as well as the south building façade.

The entry promenade, signified by a protrusion in the building volume, begins toward the back of the building and ascends a shallow ramp passage. Upon entering the residence, a light-filled double height volume orients the visitor to the stair located in the core of the building. The upper level is considered as a “piano nobile” and contains the public and gathering functions of the residence. 

Smooth surfaces of clear glass and reclaimed wood contrast with deeply ribbed, white pre-cast concrete surfaces on the exterior of the building. The building texture is expressed boldly in the intense desert sun and recalls the surface texture of the native Saguaro cactus. Internally, smooth plaster, translucent glass and reclaimed wood surfaces set the backdrop for the life of the urban dweller. 


Client: Petra Luh

Status: Design development complete - 2008