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Steven Holl | Planar House

Steven Holl

Planar House

Desert Tilt Up Wonder - This Steven Holl designed residence in Paradise Valley, AZ, USA, uses raw Concrete and Corten Steel to create a great prefabricated home and art gallery for it's owner.

Designed to house a contemporary art collection, internally, the house sets out to be a blank canvas, not to distract from the works held within.

The street façade blends into the desert greys, with the ageing steel fitting in perfectly.

Flourishes on the exterior are limited to the courtyard from where a ramp leads to a rooftop sculpture garden - a place of silence and reflection.

The rear, with overhands for shading, is the largest expanse of light giving glass. These sliding openings taking in views to the nearby Camelback Mountain.

The house is broken up into three functional areas. The garage and master bedroom, together with the library form the quiet zone at front of the house. To the rear are the dining and kitchen areas, located to soak up the views down to the mountain. A contemplative study joins these rooms at the rear, cool in summer no doubt as the doors to both the pool behind and rear yard would form a breeze-way of cooled air.

Between the two spaces lies the gallery and living area, a perfect space for the owner to enjoy the collection.

Similar natural cooling techniques are employed inside, with the overhead light shafts linking to cooling pools on the floor below, a technique which combined with minimal unshaded glass, would keep air con bills to a minimum.



Google Location Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Arizona
Status completed 2005
Client Withheld
Architect: Steven Holl
Project Architect Martin Cox (Tim Bade - Schematic Design)
Floor Area 3320 sf
Project Team Robert Edmonds, Annette Goderbauer, Hideki Hirahara, Clark Manning
General Contractor(s) The Construction Zone
Structural Engineer(s) Rudow & Berry
Mechanical Engineer(s) Roy Otterbein
Civil Engineer(s) Fleet Fisher
Electrical Engineer(s) Associated Engineering
Landscape Architect(s) Steve Martino & Associates
Photos Bill Timmerman
via:Steven Holl


Andrew said…
Gorgeous presentation as always Nick. That thin, attenuated window package really works nicely with the simplicity and clean geometry of the structure. The large panes of glass and true corner windows make me feel like I'm building with Lincoln logs.
Steven White said…
This certainly is a lovely design. I'm wondering how well this sort of construction (simple concrete slabs lashed together, as far as I can tell) would fare in a Wisconsin winter.

Anyone know? What's the R-value on that sort of wall/window/door design?

Nick Allen said…
Hi Steve,

I'm not to sure about R Values for solid tilt up slabs. But found a couple of things.

Chad at the 100 k House project has been looking at SIPs R Values for his house.

Here's something I found on "The Concrete Producer".

A Excerpt: "A reasonable R-value for a normal concrete slab can be estimated using an R-value, the thermal resistance per inch of thickness, between 0.1 and 0.2 and multiplying it times the slab thickness. For a 6-inch slab, R-value would be between 0.6 and 1.2".

Hope that helps,

Steven White said…
Thanks for the info Nick. For a structure like the Holl Planar House, to be reasonable for Wisconsin winters, maybe a layer of the pink solid insulation on the outside. And then cover the ext. surfaces with some of the modern, artistic composite materials.

In the last year I've seen a number of buildings go up in Milwaukee's downtown district that have 4'x6' and 6'x8' sheets of some sort of plastic that looks to come in many colors. These sheets are attached at the corners and midpoints with some sort of stand-off fastener. Using std. plastic isn't all too sustainable of a product but the composite materials I mentioned would easy to work with and colorful as one would want.

ronnie said…
Nice building, with alot to learn. Such a building would work well in Africa (where i design) which seems to have similar conditions with arizona, the roof overhangs are deep enuf to keep the sun out, huge glass(not fixed) let air in and the evapourative cooling system you adopted is awesome.

May i ask how the water is replenished? is it constantly in motion and how often would the system need maintenance?

I would appreciate your response.

Ronke Balogun. nigeria
Nick Allen said…
Hi Ronnie,

I'm not sure, you could check in with the guys at they are usually pretty good at responding.


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