So Many Changes in So Few Days

Desert Rain as seen from from the western edge of the lot. Plywood temporarily covers some window spaces, while sheeting covers others. April 1, 2012.

I made my way out to the Desert Rain site this afternoon after being out of town for a week. And what a difference seven days make! The cisern’s exterior walls are partially formed.

The cistern continues to take shape. April 1, 2012.

On the northern half of the cistern, where the interior wall forms have yet to be placed, you can see the reinforcing steel rebar that will give the walls additional tensile strength.

The home is now completely covered in plywood siding (FSC-certified and free of red list materials), except of course for those areas in which there will be doors and windows.

The curve of the interior “Miró wall” is seen in the foreground. At the back, the first section of the wall has been framed. April 1, 2012.

Inside, the Miró wall is also taking shape. This curved wall runs the entire east-west length of the home; in fact, it runs through the home and into the outdoor spaces, including a patio area devoted to memorializing a Ponderosa that once stood on the site (the large tree was removed in compliance with Living Building Challenge standards and is being milled in Tumalo for use in the home). Visually, the wall brings the outide in, and the inside out. Designed by Tozer Design Studio, this unique element was inspired the work of Joan Miró. “I had this idea of just this paint brush stroke across a white canvas—an arcing stroke,” said architectural designer Al Tozer. “That paint brush stroke was tied into the Ponderosa memorial with a secondary paintbrush stroke that overlapped the first then wrapped around the geometry of the Ponderosa memorial. Now, on a blank sheet of paper, it almost looked like you had the start of a Miró painting. That creativity and geometry was imbedded into the house, and the house is wrapped around that organizing element. Now it’s become the spine of the home.”

This landscaping layout shows how the Miró wall takes shape outside of the home—note the area between the main home and the accessory dwelling unit (“decomposed granite patio” and “existing ponderosa memorial”). The wall will wrap around the memorial tree. April 1, 2012.

Tozer’s Miró wall was not a part of the home’s original design. It only came to be after the first design was shelved when Tom and Barbara decided to strive for Living Building Challenge 2.0 certification. This is a beautiful testament to the remarkable things that come about with change—even when the change is difficult or painful. Says Tozer, “When you’re faced with the idea that something isn’t working, that’s pretty intense. Then you think, we have a blank sheet of paper. Let’s come up with something fresh and new. It’s fun to grab hold of something a client might have said or shared … and then let the creativity bubble up and try to build that into a new design. It’s really been fun.”

The memorial tree in the yard of Desert Rain. April 1, 2012.

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