Desert Palisades Guardhouse by studio AR&D architects

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Location: Palm Springs, California,  United States

Program: Guardhouse

Size: 915 sf

Year: 2017



Architects: studio AR&D architects

Photographer: Lance Gerber Studio


The guard house was originally conceptualized as a gateway to this long awaited residential development, located on the elevated hillside overlooking Palm Springs. Upon initial visits to this captivating site, and witnessing the expansive views and natural setting, It was evident that this building should reflect the caliber of the homes intended to be built here, while complimenting the raw and rugged terrain. The materials chosen were selected for their durability, timelessness, and their compliment to the desert environment. The aesthetic was designed to reflect both the nature and thrusting of the hillside slope.

We really wanted this boulder to appear that it was very close to the roof but not quite connecting to it physically. Instead we preferred the tension created between the two structures, natural and man-made, and wanted them to speak to the other while still remaining elusive of one another. The exact distance between the two wasn’t as important as the energy between the two.

The exaggerated length of the cantilever that gently shades the large boulder was important for reinforcing the tension created between the natural and man-made. The conversation that the 2 elements have with one another could only have been achieved so poetically by taking the largest boulder on site and marrying it to a structure that stretches the limits of engineering to its maximum potential. Our vision that we intend to create throughout this project would be to create this same conversation, connection, and tension between the built and natural environments.

Materials used: In order to push the limits of the engineering for this gatehouse, steel and concrete were chosen for their strength and ability to resist an extreme amount of tension and compression. The treatment of these materials, and in an effort to compliment the natural surroundings found throughout the Desert Palisades project, dictated that we present these materials in their truest form. It was paramount that the materials of the outer shell and structure be left to patina naturally, unadorned with any added finish. The interior materials, in contrast, were intended to communicate a dichotomy between the built and natural elements. These read as a much more polished and refined aesthetic, while still providing a warmth and strong connection to the surrounding landscape.

studio AR&D architects



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All images courtesy of studio AR&D architects


studio AR&D architects

Studio AR&D Architects is an innovative Architecture, Design, and Construction firm working nationally out of an office based in Los Angeles, California.


sean-lockyerSean Lockyer

Principal + Lead Designer

Sean Lockyer is the Principal and lead architect for Studio AR&D Architects. The firm is committed to creating new and unique contemporary architecture informed by the environment, technology, and innovation. Since its inception in 2007, a diverse body of work has been realized including industrial complexes, healthcare, hospitality, multi-family, art and furniture, and single family residential.

Studio AR&D Architects has produced over 30 buildings in the diverse communities of Palm Springs, Los Angeles, and nationwide. Projects are currently in development in California, Canada, and Philadelphia. Recently, the firm’s work in the Custom Home sector has garnered much attention, received many awards (2013 Concrete Masonry Association of California and Nevada; Residential Design Honor Award, the 2012 PS ModCom award for Excellence in New Modern Design, etc) and has been published extensively.

Sean Lockyer is an Architect Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), a member of the Society of American Registered Architects (SARA), a member of the California Preservation Foundation, and serves as a board member for the Advancement Council to the College of Architecture and the Built Environment (Philadelphia University).

Prior to receiving a Bachelor in Architecture at the Philadelphia University, Philadelphia, PA, Sean Lockyer lived and studied in Rome, Italy. Since earning his degree in 1998, Sean worked as both lead designer and project manager for various firms in Philadelphia PA, New Orleans LA, and Southern California. Currently, Sean is furthering his practice of Design and Building of various contemporary projects, both residential and commercial. Designs of these projects are focused in a contemporary architectural style that explores and incorporates today’s modern materials and construction methods in a way that responds to various social and environmental issues affecting our society today.

Read more here


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