Modern humans have always wanted to make their presence known, from the earliest cave drawings to opulent Ottoman architecture. Although we occupy but one of billions of galaxies, our ego knows no bounds. In the desert, we build giant structures like the Burj Khalifa. And we build with glass, which draws in rather than deflects heat, as though no problem is too great for us to conquer.
There is a better way, a way to live without disfiguring nature in our wake. And for those who aren’t excited about cave dwellings, Platform For Architecture & Research’s villas planned for the Mojave desert are not only attuned to its harsh surrounds, but are sleek and intelligent. In other words, we need not revert to a primitive past in order to show our respect for nature.
The 18 villas have been laid out in such a way to reduce their impact on as well as take advantage of the surrounding desert environment in Southern California.
With 18 plots on 15 acres, the community of single level houses is arranged to take advantage of northwesterly winds and without usurping more space (vertical or horizontal) than is reasonable for one home.
Notice that there are no lush “green spaces”, but rather a kind of landscaping (called xeriscaping) is used that eliminates the need for undue irrigation.
And because the summers in Mojave are hot, Middle East hot, a variety of passive techniques have been incorporated: solar shading, glazing, and natural ventilation. Yet, since the sun does blaze so mercilessly in this region, it makes perfect sense that each of the homes will have solar roofs that will provide their electricity.
The only questionable feature of each unit is the presence of a private pool? A nice thing to have – to cool off – but it is difficult not to worry about evaporation, or where that water will be sourced. In all other respects though, this is a Green Prophet kinda place.
More desert dwellings in the Middle East: