The Six: Courtyard Houses / Ibarra Rosano Design Architects
Architects: Ibarra Rosano Design Architects
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Principals-in-charge: Luis Ibarra, Teresa Rosano
Structural Engineer: Caruso Turley Scott
Developer: Dreamspace, LLC.
Contractor: Repp Design + Construction, Inc.
Cost of Construction: approx. $130/sf
Phase 1-2: 2,297 sf (each of four houses)
Phase 3: 2360 sf + 438 sf studio (each of two houses)
Project completion: 2009
Photographs: Bill Timmerman
In our desert town, plagued by sprawl and lacking in public transportation, The Six is a project comprised of six courtyard houses that demonstrates the possibilities for higher density, urban infill desert development that is respectful of its time and place.
While the Six takes cues from Tucson’s architectural past and neighboring residences, which manifest as central courtyards, low-rise masonry construction, and thoughtful solar orientation, the project is an emphatic expression of its place and time.
The Courtyard is a traditional concept employed in hot arid regions because it takes advantage of cool desert nights by affording the house the ability to open into a secure and private space. Each house’s primary spaces expand onto the central courtyard, while the more intimate bathing areas extend into private landscaped light wells.
This interconnectedness of indoor and outdoor space is a consistent trademark of the development. In the hallway, glue-laminated wood beams were crafted to form a dramatic window seat overlooking the courtyard. The master bedroom shares access to the large outdoor “room” while the master bath and guest baths look onto small private outdoors spaces, giving one the sensation of bathing outdoors. Directly above the expansive kitchen island, the ceiling dramatically rises to provide a demarcation for the cooking area, and allow clerestory windows to provide balanced south and north light into the voluminous dining and living areas.
The magic comes from the manipulation of the human experience, not the form. We feel that timelessness is attained when every decision is based on something important and when the space is given as much consideration as the object.