Architecture Design landscape Residential

Courtyards house by HK Associates Inc

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Home of the Year 2016, AIA Southern Arizona

AIA Southern Arizona 2016 Honor Award for Distinguished Architecture

Location: Tucson, Arizona, US

Area: 3.475 ft2

Year: 2016

Architects: HK Associates Inc

Architect in Charge: Kathy Hancox, Michael Kothke

General Contractor: Lemarr Construction

Manufacturers: Hansgrohe, Wetstyle, Western Windows

Photographs: © Bill Timmerman

Situated in a nondescript subdivision on Tucson’s eastside, the Courtyards House is a desert minimalist reinvention of residential suburban inhabitation.

Conceived as a series of interlocking interior and exterior volumes, the living spaces of the home contain, or are contained by six individual courtyards. Spatial boundaries are defined, yet fluid, with light, views and access flowing from one part of the home to the next. Each courtyard is distinctly xeriscaped with southern Arizona specimens, providing moments of focus and release – foreground and middle ground lend themselves to background and the distant mountain views beyond.

The courtyards, and the boundaries they define, also serve a programmatic role: to “zone” the house for the clients’ eleven rescue cats. Feline accommodation extends to the design of cabinetry, which incorporates a variety of hiding and play spaces.

The Courtyards House also serves as a gallery for the clients’ collection of paintings and photographs by Tucson artists. In many cases, the colors and compositions of the individual art pieces are complimented by the adjacent xeriscapes, or through the home’s architectural play of light-and-shadow. The white interior and exterior walls act as a canvas for registering temporal atmospheres – the subtleties and contrasts imbued by the desert sky throughout the day and night.

HK Associates Inc

© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman

All images courtesy of HK Associates Inc | ©  Bill Timmerman

HK Associates Inc


HK Associates Inc is an award winning architecture firm made up of husband and wife team Kathy Hancox and Michael Kothke.

Before forming HK Associates, Michael and Kathy followed largely independent but parallel career paths, with each making substantial contributions to internationally recognized architecture firms in both Canada and the United States: Patkau Architects, Peter Cardew Architects, Acton Johnson Ostry, Lundberg Design and Leddy Maytum Stacy.

An opportunity to work together with Rick Joy brought them to Tucson, AZ in 2003 where they fell in love with the desert, later establishing HK Associates.

HK believes in the power of thoughtful design to enrich life, and views every project as an opportunity to create something meaningful.

Driven by simplicity and honesty in design, the studio’s approach is client and site specific, striving to create spaces and structures that are timeless and enduring, relevant and contextual. Good design is inherently sustainable.


HK Associates Inc

3514 N Olsen, Tucson, AZ 85719

T 520.577.5260


HK Associates Inc

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