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Sublime design features at Black Desert House, Yucca Valley

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Los Angeles-based architectural practice, Oller & Pejic Architecture, has designed the Black Desert House project. This ultra-luxe property is located in Yucca Valley, California, US.

This luxury home is located near Palm Springs, east of Los Angeles in the high desert near the Joshua Tree National Park.

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According to the architects: “Our client had given us a brief but compelling instruction to build a house like a shadow. This had a very specific relevance to the desert area where the sunlight is often so bright that the eye’s only resting place is the shadows.

“A long process of research began with the clients showing us images of houses they found intriguing – mostly contemporary houses that showed a more aggressive formal and spatial language than the mid-century modern homes that have become the de-facto style of the desert southwest.

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“We looked back at precedents for how architects have dealt with houses located in similar topography and found that generally they either sought to integrate the built work into the landscape, as in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and later Rudolf Shindler or to hold the architecture aloof from the landscape as in the European modernist tradition of Mies van der Rohe. While on a completely virgin site, the lightly treading minimalist approach would be preferred, here we decided that the Western American tradition of Land Art would serve as a better starting point, marrying the two tendencies in a tense relationship with the house clawing the ground for purchase while maintaining its otherness.

“The house would replace the missing mountain that was scraped away, but not as a mountain, but a shadow or negative of the rock; what was found once the rock was removed, a hard glinting obsidian shard.

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“Concept in place, we began fleshing out the spaces and movement through the house. We wanted the experience of navigating the house to remind one of traversing the site outside. The rooms are arranged in a linear sequence from living room to bedrooms with the kitchen and dining in the middle, all wrapping around a inner courtyard which adds a crucial intermediate space in the entry sequence and a protected exterior space in the harsh climate.

“The living room was summed up succinctly by Marc as a chic sleeping bag. The space, recessed into the hillside with a solid earthen wall to lean your back against as you survey the horizon is a literal campsite which finds its precedent in cliff dwellings of the Southwest.

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“The dark colour of the house interior adds to the primordial cave-like feeling. During the day, the interior of the house recedes and the views are more pronounced. At night the house completely dematerialises and the muted lighting and stars outside blend to form an infinite backdrop for contemplation.

“The project would never have come about without the continued efforts of the entire team. The interior design was a collaborative effort between Marc and Michele and the architects. The patience and dedication of the builder, Avian Rogers and her subcontractors was crucial to the success of the project. Everyone who worked on the project knew it was something out of the ordinary and put forth incredible effort to see it completed.”

Images courtesy of Marc Angeles

About

Assif is a luxury travel and design aficionado currently working as a BBC content producer. He holds an MA in journalism from the University of Leeds. He is partial to tea and cake - Yorkshire Tea Gold Blend please. His favourite trips include island hopping in the Seychelles, a mountain escape in Kashmir and getting lost in Hong Kong.

Assif is the current editor of Adelto Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @journolista.

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February 28, 2014 | Property | View comments

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