Monk’s Shadow Residence by Kendle Design Collaborative

August 31, 2010

Kendle Design Collaborative designed the Monk’s Shadow residence in Paradise Valley, Arizona.


Monk’s Shadow Residence by Kendle Design Collaborative

The design of this home is a pragmatic response to an amazing yet challenging site. A narrow lot with 60’ of vertical elevation combined with a restrictive Hillside Zoning Ordinance made designing a conventional home impossible. In response the home is divided by use;
1. Parents zone including master suite, primary family and entertainment functions
2. The teenager zone including bedrooms, game room, pool access and one of two garages
3. Guest zone including a bed/bath suite and small great room that doubles as the owner’s home office.
These zones are stair stepped up the narrow site such that each zone has commanding views of the mountain which embraces them, the valley floor and the distant mountain ranges.

The name “MONK’S SHADOW” is an affectionate reference to possibly the most influential member of the design team; an iconic geologic formation known to those in the Valley of the Sun as the Praying Monk. You see the Owner’s and the Monk developed a special relationship over the 10-12 years they lived on the property prior to deciding to design their new home. During the first program discussion with the Owners they stated their desire to wake up each morning and see the monk without leaving their bed. Many more decisions would be based on views to the Praying Monk including slot windows above the art gallery allowing the 6’-6” inhabitants to see the Monk as they traversed past their art collection, views to the Monk as they stretched out in the pool or flipped burgers at the BBQ just to name a few. They also wanted every guest to have the Monk be their last view before departing the property.

This relationship with the Monk, and more importantly the site specific, became invaluable in the design of the home. The Owners understood where the shadows of the surrounding mountain fell throughout the year allowing the best placement possible for the pool. They understood that even during the hottest months of the year that at some point during the evening the temperature of the air at the top of the mountain would drop and a cooling breeze would fall down the mountain across their site. They understood that the surrounding mountains blocked many of the lowest sun angles at the end of the day and provided the most amazing sunsets.

As a result the home is designed to breath – to funnel the natural air currents through the home allowing the home to be enjoyed without mechanical air conditioning throughout much of the year. The placement of the “secret garden” further adds to the cooling effect, cooling the air before it is drawn through the primary living areas of the home.

The “Secret Garden”. The home is approached via a somewhat formal car court, devoid of views into or through the home. This provides the owners of this largely glass house a great degree of privacy. Upon passage through an oversized frosted glass pivot door guests are greeted by a linear gallery space with a completely transparent facade facing the Secret Garden, a lush oasis in the desert made up of colorful desert appropriate plantings of a softer nature along with a judicious use of turf. The turf, kept to a minimum, acts as a soft extension of the interior floor area – a turf terrace so to speak. This turf and the water used to feed it, along with the other planting chosen for their ability to hold moisture, actively cool the breezes that are drawn across them before being drawn like a horizontal chimney through the home.

Like many of my projects the roof is celebrated and articulated to form a pavilion, sheltering the interior and exterior spaces below and providing those spaces the freedom to take on what ever shape their function dictates with out interruption from columns and supporting walls. The form of the roof is a direct response to the views, raising up to capture the view up the mountain and reaching out to carry the eye out to the Valley views to the north. The butterfly shape also acts to direct precious rain water to supplement the watering of the surrounding xeriscape landscaping.

The roof of the lowest level forms the deck of the main public/family level. This deck is divided in to a kitchen and dining side that bridges to the main living area deck. All materials are chosen to be in harmony with the natural surrounding. Hardscape, including the concrete pavers on the deck, resemble the finish and color of the natural desert floor. Copper accents weather to a natural patina complimenting the iron rich strata found in the surrounding rock formations. Integral colored hard troweled synthetic plaster is colored to compliment the indigenous creosote, Palo Verde, mesquite and ironwood found on site.

Sustainable features include low-e glazing throughout, zoned high efficiency climate  control systems, ample daylighting reducing need for electric light, expanded cell foam insulation providing extraordinary r-values and reduced air infiltration and acoustic benefits, cross air ventilation reducing need for mechanical conditioning, mechanized window shading and deep overhangs to shade and protect openings, exposed concrete floors reducing floor coverings and adhesives, and xeriscape landscaping designed to assist with interior cooling.

The result is a home that unlike many of its more attention grabbing neighbors quietly rests within its natural setting, interwoven with nature, only revealing its most precious gifts to those living within and those fortunate enough to be their guests.

Interior Design: KENDLE DESIGN COLLABORATIVE, Scottsdale, Arizona
Landscape Architect: GB Two, Scottsdale Arizona
Photography: Rick Brazil, Prescott Arizona
Aerial Photography: Boom with a View, Phoenix Arizona