The Xeros project is sited within a late 50’s era neighborhood where the urban grid of Phoenix is nestled in the organic land forms of the north Phoenix mountain preserve. Located at the end of two dead-end streets, the Xeros residence is positioned on the upward slope of a 50’x 250’ double lot facing the mountain preserve to the north and the city center to the south.
The building parti includes a two-story lower level design studio that descends down into the earth. The single story residence that exists above the studio, is accessed solely by an external stair. The path to the studio level requires that the guest pass behind the mesh screen and descend a short flight of stairs into an exterior, mesh-enclosed forecourt. A stainless steel water feature leads you down the steps and terminates at a reflecting pool. A 3-1/2 foot wide by 19-1/2 tall steel-framed glass door offers entry into the studio from the courtyard. To access the residence, the visitor ascends an exterior steel staircase to an upper level balcony before entering the common room (sitting, dining, and kitchen). The visitor continues through a central gallery towards the cantilevered master suite / media room. This space is completely glazed on the north façade to enjoy the mountain preserve views. To complete the cycle of movement, a cantilevered yellow-glass framed ‘Romeo and Juliet’ balcony allows views back to the city and across the long axis of the building.
The primary building material is exposed steel (as structure, cladding, and shading) that has weathered naturally and melds with the color of the surrounding hills.
Called ‘Xeros’ (from the Greek for ‘dry’) as a reminder that all solutions should be in a direct response to its environment - the building has several environmentally responsible decisions. The form turns an opaque face towards the intense western afternoon sun and the more exposed faces to the south and east are shielded by an external layer of woven metal shade mesh. The very tall form, with its petite footprint, situated on a long, narrow lot, allows for the maximum amount of low-water use vegetation. These plantings are positioned around the residence to add to the shading effect of the screen. The site itself was ‘recycled’ in that new life was injected into a overlooked plot in a neglected Phoenix neighborhood.