Desert House by Marmol Radziner


The Desert House, Marmol Radziner Prefab’s prototype home is oriented to best capture views of San Jacinto peak and the surrounding mountains. Located on a five-acre site in Desert Hot Springs, California, the house extends through the landscape with covered outdoor living areas, which double the 2000 square-foot interior spaces. A detached carport allows the owners to “leave the car behind” as they approach their home.

Designed for Leo Marmol and his wife Alisa Becket, the Desert House employs four house modules and six deck modules. Sheltered living spaces blend the indoors with the outdoors, simultaneously extending and connecting the house to the north wing, which holds a guest house and studio space.

The house hovers two feet above the desert landscape, anchored on a recessed platform. The main living space unfolds west to views of the San Jacinto and San Gorgonio mountains. Open frames provide sheltered living spaces blending indoors and outdoors, while simultaneously extending and connecting the house to the north wing containing a guesthouse and studio space. By forming an “L”, the home creates a protected environment that includes a pool and fire pit.

The home is built with prefabricated technologies in a factory. Using steel framing, twelve feet wide modules can extend up to sixty four feet in length and use any type of cladding, including metal, wood, or glass. The Desert House is built with three types of basic modules: interior modules comprising the living spaces, exterior modules defining covered outdoor living areas and sunshade modules providing protection from the sun.

The design of the home employs passive and active solar technologies as well as sustainable design concepts. Solar panels provide power used by the house. Sunshades on the south and west facades minimize the impact of the harsh summer sun. In the colder months, concrete floors provide passive solar heat gain.

Architects: Marmol Radziner
Location: Desert Hot Springs, California, USA
Project area: 20,234 sqm
Project year: 2005
Photographs: Joe Fletcher Photography

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