Desert Courtyard House by Wendell Burnette Architects



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Project info:
Architects: wendell burnette architects
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

Area : 7,200 square feet

Year: 2014

Photographs : bill timmerman

All images courtesy of wendell burnette architects

Project Team: Wendell Burnette (Principal – in-charge of Design), Thamarit Suchart (Project Manager/Chief Design Collaborator), Jena Rimkus, Matthew G. Trzebiatowski, Scott Roeder, Brianna Tovsen, Chris Flodin, Colin Bruce
Contractor: The Construction Zone, Ltd.
Interior Design: Leavitt – Weaver, Inc
Structural Engineer: Rudow + Berry, Inc.
Electrical Engineer: Associated Engineering
Mechanical Engineer: Kunka Engineering, Inc.
Civil Engineer: Rick Engineering
Lighting Design: Ljusarkitektur P&O AB
Landscape Design: Debra Dusenberry Landscape Design
Audio/Visual/Acoustical Consultant: Wardin Cockriel Associates


wendell burnette architects

As Ocotillos march across a private drive that descends a ridge following a natural wash, this project’s form emerges amidst towering Saguaros and geological outcroppings as the depth and complexity of the desert floor is revealed.

Constructed from soil excavated from the site, the house is a mass of concrete and rammed earth walls that meet the sky without termination. The battered walls envelop and protect conditioned spaces that surround a central courtyard.

During the daytime, the courtyard is defined by a continuous ribbon of glass, the desert floor and sky. At night, the glass dissolves and the steel plate ceiling of the interior spaces merges with the dark sky.

The roof is clad in weathered steel and, when seen from above, recedes into the landscape as a deep shadow. Experience of place is prioritized by means of the project’s configuration and materiality allowing for a primordial understanding of the desert landscape.


Architect Visits Wendell Burnette

wendell burnette architects 

Wendell Burnette Architects is an internationally recognized architectural practice based in Phoenix, Arizona. Our portfolio of work includes a wide range of private and public projects. The specific focus of the practice is concerned with space and light, context and place, and with the environment and landscapes in which we live. The architecture of the firm responds to the specifics of site and client needs, is resourceful in regards to budget, takes a pro-active approach to the craft of building, and strives to create spaces that engage people. The recent public and private commissions of the studio evidence our desire to be an active member of the communities in which we work and the physical shaping of those places regardless of locale.

See more at:



T. 602 395 1091 F. 602 395 0839

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