A modern, yet archaic architecture of the walls for a house in Paradise Valley

A modern, yet archaic architecture of the walls for a house in Paradise Valley

Architects: Marwan Al-Sayed Inc.
Location: Paradise Valley, United States
Year: 2015
Photo courtesy: Marwan Al-Sayed Inc.

“A ten acre desert site that contains two desert washes. A modern, yet archaic architecture of walls that contain space and space that contains walls.

Space becomes thinned out form and form becomes condensed space. Massive walls inscribed in the earth. From above, snake like and calligraphic in form blurring boundaries between outside and inside, courtyards and rooms, container and contained.

Wonderful vistas to both nearby desert landscapes and distant peaks. Walls are introduced, repetitively and deliberately, compressed and then elongated as the space or view dictates.

Snake like mass walls of light 3” Veracruz Mexican saw cut limestone, moving in and out of the living spaces, blurring boundaries…light fabric overhangs delicately suspended between the mass walls. Walls containing space, life, courts, water, trees, laughter, thoughts and shadows.

The stacking of the stone is inspired by both memories of a beautiful Japanese bamboo cutting board, with its even and subtle yet irregular offsets… well as the work of abstract painter Agnes Martin….repetitive with subtle differences creating a complex box of depth and surface. The effect is not unlike a mother of pearl box, created by the shimmering variations of the stone and how it is laid, both regularly yet with deliberate variation. Roland Barthes “repetition differente”.

Slowly a pattern emerges, shifts and then unwinds. Repetitive but not repeated, Even – here, elongated – there ….extended, here compressed there. Subtle varieties of color, texture, line all effect to create a richness of experiences for daily life.

The slicing of stone left exposed, the splash of water, the capture of light…the walls exclude what is weak and undesired so that what is vibrant and alive can flourish in peace.

A modern timeless ruin in the Sonoran desert, inhabited by the softness of the bodies within and the glimpses of shimmering landscapes and light particular to the desert outside.”

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