The desert outside Scottsdale, Arizona is an unforgiving place. Sagebrush and cactus stretch to the horizon, rain is scarce and the creatures that call this place home have been forced to adapt to the harsh climate to survive. When commissioned to create a private residence here, Wendell Burnette architects chose to follow the lead of the lizards and coyotes, working as closely with the surrounding natural elements as possible.
The result is an extravagant modern home that blends seamlessly with the desert. Exterior concrete walls filled with earth from the site (a traditional technique that is naturally energy efficient) surround an interior courtyard in which rocks and cacti were preserved. Glass walls allow a view of the courtyard from throughout the house, a section of glass floor reveals the desert landscape below and a wall of translucent onyx in the bathroom lets in sunlight in the daytime, and the flickering of an outdoor fire pit at night. A space that merges the desert with the living area, this house allows life to not just survive here, but to live exceptionally well.