The Palm Springs House is nestled in a San Jacinto Mountain promontory that overlooks the Coachella Valley and mountain ranges beyond. The home pairs the dramatic views of the desert landscapes with the owners’ extensive art collection.
Two offset linear masses linked by a sun-drenched kitchen contain living and sleeping spaces. This configuration creates courtyards that serve as extensions of the interior space. Operable glass facades bring natural light and ventilation into the house, while providing access to the outdoors. Deep roof overhangs and relocated olive trees provide shade from the harsh desert sun. The angular roofline is reinforced by the form of the infinity-edge pool. A solid wall provides privacy from a neighboring house, turning focus to the spectacular views that reflect off the glass and water.
The centerpiece of the home is a forty-two foot long painting, stretching across the living spaces. Designed with the painting in mind, the clean lines and limited palette of the house were chosen to showcase the massive triptych. With smooth white walls and concrete floors, the interior finishes invoke the neutral backdrop of an art gallery.
The project presented an opportunity to restore the native desert landscape that had been disrupted by lawn from a previous development. Local materials and labor were utilized extensively in the construction of the home. The house was created to reflect its surroundings and celebrate the landscape.
The sustainable strategy encompasses both the house and entire site, and relates directly to the climatic, topographic, and functional needs of the project. The home’s high-performance characteristics include integrated passive site planning, minimal building impact on the land, maintaining/preserving/restoring natural drought resistant vegetation, and carefully considered design creating comfortable and functional spaces. The project connects with the site by taking advantage of views, daylight and natural ventilation. Embedded in a rocky landscape on a promontory overlooking the Coachella Valley, the home intertwines interior and exterior spaces through the use of high efficiency glass facades with deep overhangs, providing a seamless transition between living areas and the mountain and valley panoramas.
High performance glass (U-Factor = .27; SHGC = .30) and closed cell spray foam insulation are utilized throughout (R-21 walls; R-45 roof). White membrane roofs are implemented to reduce
solar heat gain, lightening the load on mechanical systems. High efficiency mechanical systems were specified and serve from beneath the floor slab to minimize cooling loads in high volume
spaces. LED lighting throughout reduces electrical loads. These strategies make the home perform 12.8% more efficient (84.32kBTU/sf/yr) than the baseline.
An 850 square foot 9.7kW photovoltaic array collects energy from the desert sun, producing approximately 15,000 kWh annually, covering about 11.5% of the total energy used by the home. The efficient building envelope, systems, and implementing passive design strategies such as shading devices and natural cross ventilation work synergistically to achieve efficient energy performance.
The home is designed to take advantage of expansive panoramic views of the landscape and maximize natural light by concentrating high performance all-glass facades to the south and east. Natural daylight paired with LED lighting throughout reduces lighting power density to .44W/sf. Deep roof overhangs and the relocation of existing olive trees provide shading at all glass wall exposures. These passive approaches reduce loads on mechanical and electrical systems while admitting natural light without glare.
The house is located in a remote, residential area. It is used as a vacation home and a gathering space for the owners' many philanthropic pursuits.
A compact building footprint preserves native drought resistant vegetation on roughly 60% of site. Water consumption is minimized by replacing existing lawns with self-sufficient xeriscaped planting. Low flow plumbing fixtures are used throughout the home.
The home is comprised of raw materials including plaster walls, concrete floors, and glass panels,
minimizing VOCs. Glass facade doors in all habitable rooms provide approximately 550 SF of openings, creating a naturally cross ventilated space.
A hybridized steel and wood structural framing system minimizes the use of steel in favor of wood,
thereby reducing its overall weight while also relying primarily on readily available local materials and labor. A locally manufactured (within 20 miles) custom steel window system was used.