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Desert House Design

Founded in Tucson, Arizona in 1984 by architect/builder, Paul Weiner, DesignBuild Collaborative has been passionately committed to developing projects that reflect the native beauty, climate, geological environment and culture of the region. Through a thoughtful integration of locally occurring native materials, including rammed earth, adobe, scoria, native stone, masonry, oxidized steel, weathered concrete and timber, and an award winning design expertise in sustainable water and energy technologies, DBC has been and remains committed to the creation of meaningful built environments intended to reinforce personal well-being.



selected materials and technologies:


Rammed Earth

 
Rammed Earth is earth excavated from the building site that is reinforced with a small amount of dry Portland cement, moistened, and then placed into forms to develop a bold and timeless building envelope or element. We have found no substitute for the aged, grounding and visceral quality of this native material. Take away the Portland cement and the pneumatic tampers and this technology has been used for thousands of years throughout the world in indigenous structures.
Beyond the innate beauty of this material, its shear mass creates a thermal storage system that acts to mitigate temperature swings to create a clean and ultra comfortable source of heating and cooling for indoor space.




Abode


As with Rammed Earth, this locally excavated material is wet to a greater degree and placed into small unit forms. The resultant sun dried blocks are placed as they have been for thousands of years, into mortar of the same material make up as the blocks, and sculpted into walls of extraordinary beauty. The color, texture, familiarity and antiquity of this material seem to deeply engage the human spirit. May this have something to do with the human effort required to place the material? As with many things in life, this intention and vision can be felt in the final product.




Sustainable technologies


As architects moving towards the realization of sustainable work it is important to treat the concept as something other than a technological layer. Sustainability speaks not just about energy and resources but also about how people inhabit and live within the spaces. While the quantitative means of analysis are very important we must not forget about the qualitative aspects which can and should inspire the buildings inhabitants to take ownership of not only the building but also of the concept of sustainability. The strategies employed should be legible but well integrated into the form, structure and material allowing the architecture to maintain its character while meeting quantitative goals.







regional hybrid

The desert is a unique environment that calls for a unique response when intervening with a built object. With the exception of the earthen materials that we discuss on this website, there are few stand alone building envelope materials that naturally relate to the desert landscape in a way that suggests belonging. Even the engaging plasters can appear too monotonous and thus foreign, unless thoughtfully composed with other more grounded materials. Our practice believes in this critical concept of belonging when designing built environments in an arid zone devoid of dense plant material, and it is for this reason that we often develop a mixed medium response as we take each specific site into account during our design process.










For more info
www.dbcarchitectbuilder.coml





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