Contemporary Arizona House Mimics The Desert Landscape Through Corten Steel

The huge Arizona desert is not the friendliest of places to live in but when architecture is adapted to suit this type of terrain we end up looking at some really interesting and beautiful structures. One of them is this beautiful contemporary residence from Paradise Valley. It was a project completed in 2017 by architecture and design studio Optima DCHGlobal. What sets it apart from other similar structures is the fact it wasn’t designed in a typical way and it doesn’t use the regular construction materials. For starters, it features a structure made entirely of Corten steel.

The house's Corten steel roof extends to create large cantilevers and numerous outdoor roomsView in gallery
The house’s Corten steel roof extends to create large cantilevers and numerous outdoor rooms
The Corten steel support pillars and beams are also extended outside where they frame some of the outdoor spacesView in gallery
The Corten steel support pillars and beams are also extended outside where they frame some of the outdoor spaces

The Corten steel is a material chosen for its sustainability but in this case also for its distinctive aesthetic. The weathered look and rusty coloring helps it to blend in beautifully with the desert landscape which in turn allows the house to fit wonderfully within its natural context. The perforated roof panels form large overhangs around the house, creating a series of covered outdoor spaces that help to blur the distinction between the inside and the outside. In a way, this makes the desert landscape quite enticing and alluring. 

The large open floor plan is divided into modules and relies on visual separators such as area rugs and furnitureView in gallery
The large open floor plan is divided into modules and relies on visual separators such as area rugs and furniture
This is an expansive outdoor area sheltered under the perforated weathered steel roofView in gallery
This is an expansive outdoor area sheltered under the perforated weathered steel roof
The swimming pool is placed on the edge of the site, together with a fitness pavilionView in gallery
The swimming pool is placed on the edge of the site, together with a fitness pavilion
The huge glass envelope of the building blurs the boundaries between the indoor and the outdoor areasView in gallery
The huge glass envelope of the building blurs the boundaries between the indoor and the outdoor areas
The greenery surrounding the house frames a nice view of the desert and the mountains to the WestView in gallery
The greenery surrounding the house frames a nice view of the desert and the mountains to the West

The house sits on a large raised plinth made of concrete which is 16” above the ground level. This allows for a level and completely flat floor plan and a linear distribution of all the rooms. The floor plan also has a modular structure, being designed in a 7′ x 7′ system of volumes with a series of support columns evenly spread throughout the house. The contrast between the Corten steel and the polished concrete is quite obvious and the expansive glass envelope of the building acts as a transitional surface between them. Its role is of course also to let in lore of natural light and to expose the interior to the beautiful surroundings. For the interior, the designers used lots of natural wood and warm accent colors in order to create a welcoming ambiance which compliments the exterior. 

The house and surrounding areas form a beautiful oasis inspired by the magnificent landscape around themView in gallery
The house and surrounding areas form a beautiful oasis inspired by the magnificent landscape around them