CDG Architects, Ltd.
2102 N. Country Club Road, #9, Tucson, AZ 85716
Location: Benson, Arizona
Date Bid: Feb 2006
Construction Period: Apr 2006 to Oct 2006
Total Square Feet: 3,660 Site: 4.13 acres.
Number of Buildings: Three.
Building Size: Garage, 1,819; House, 1,422; Guest House, 419; total, 3,660 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 19.5’; total, 19.5’.
Basic Construction Type: III-R/New. Foundation: Slab-on-grade.
Exterior Walls: CMU. Roof: Metal. Floors: Concrete.
Interior Walls: CMU, metal stud drywall.
General Contractor: MC2 Homes, Inc. - 298 E. Fourth Street, Benson, AZ 85602
Solar Engineer: Progressive Solar, Inc. - 620 E. 19th Street, #120, Tucson, AZ 85719
Connie Ayres and Jeff Webster purchased a 4-acre piece of ground in the rural, high desert of Southeastern Arizona and envisioned a dwelling that would accommodate their simple lifestyle, two active pups, Jeff’s livelihood of furniture building, and frequent guests. The design program translated fairly quickly, for the couple, into a compound of three separate buildings – the main house, a substantial workshop and garage combination, and a freestanding guesthouse – each contiguous with a central walled courtyard. The two-room guesthouse is located a distance from the house for privacy, connected by a courtyard walkway that joins the main house’s spacious front porch of the main residence. The oversized workshop accommodates all of Jeff’s tools and equipment. (Jeff actually provided the architect with SketchUp-generated 3-D figures of the pieces of equipment to ensure that there would be ample space.) The entire compound is on one level providing universal accessibility that will allow the couple to age in place and safely entertain elderly guests. All three buildings face the desired view from the property, a small working ranch with rolling hills beyond. Land disturbance during construction was minimized to allow native plants to envelope and soften the hard edges of the compound.
Refugees from the cookie-cutter subdivisions of the modern suburbs, Jeff and Connie were taken with the resolute shapes of the three structures proposed by the architect, which cut a striking combined silhouette against the Arizona sky. In the vernacular of a by-gone era, stern grey block walls are juxtaposed with deep russet metal roof and siding panels, matching the metals of nearby ranch buildings. Building design and orientation, as well as selection of highly insulated Integra Wall System construction, deter solar heat gain during the hot months. North-facing windows are large enough to allow ample light into the home and guesthouse; west windows were excluded altogether and minimal south-facing windows are protected by a metal-faced awning. Metal roofing and siding along with metal stud construction at some of the exterior and all of the interior walls allayed the clients’ fire hazard concerns in this rural setting.
Connie and Jeff, in concert with the architect, integrated “sustainability” principles with conscientious design and life cycle costing. Life cycle costing was utilized when making material and finish decisions within the confines of the couple’s budget. A long-life, aesthetically interesting roof and gutter system is optimal for rainwater harvesting and can be recycled at the end of its useful life. Research into the “sustainability” options available to them enabled the couple to prioritize decisions, using technologies they could afford up front while planning for subsequent retrofits, such as eventual photovoltaic power and a plumbing system that isolates grey water for future storage and on-site use. A space heating rated micro-boiler, plumbed to a solar hot water storage tank, provides domestic hot water and heats the radiant floor. When a planned vacuum heat tube solar collector is added to this system, it will supply virtually all of the domestic hot water and will supplement the radiant floor demand.
The interiors of the home and guesthouse are spare yet exquisite. Color and form are expressed in the furnishings and artwork against exposed masonry and neutral plaster walls. Natural-colored concrete floors anchor the fine cabinetry and whimsical furniture, all hand-crafted by Jeff. The great room “pavilion” is divided by a freestanding, floor to ceiling wall that allows the resulting space to double as an office and guest room, having its own full bath. The master suite is the only truly private space, providing refuge for the couple and also for their two dogs.
DIV. 3: CMU: Integra Wall Systems.
DIV. 7: Metal Roofing & Siding: Mueller, Inc.
DIV. 8: Windows: International Window Corporation.