Initially built by native dwellers 2000 years ago and rebuilt for modern society over a century ago are 181 miles of canals that bring water to the desert city of Phoenix, Arizona. These canals often go unnoticed, as the city has largely turned their back on these assets until recently.
Aptly named after its location smack bang on the banks of the 181-mile waterway, Canal House is a new build home inspired by the mission-style architecture in southern Arizona. The irregular U-shaped vacant lot provided the architects with a rich framework that offered plenty of possibilities. The Ranch Mine designed the home to be a beacon, glimmering in the sun with its rusted, corrugated metal roof, drawing focus to the life-giving resource slicing through the gridded city.
Canal House was designed to the furthest extents of the building setbacks, using the geometry of the house to create shade and privacy in a variety of settings. “The house opens out from the interior spaces to courtyards that provide additional living areas at different times of day, depending on the location of the sun.” says the architect. The most often shaded area is the dining courtyard along the canal off of the kitchen, with two new Red Push Pistache trees that transition from green to bright red leaves to signal the coming of the cooler season in Phoenix. The central courtyard is anchored by a rusted steel clad outdoor fireplace that separates the living wing of the house from the sleeping wing. Custom designed steel panels shade the great room doors in the summer with a pattern of the archetypal house form that features prominently on the Canal House elevations. Lastly, an entry courtyard provides a quiet, contemplative area between the house and the garage.
On the interior of the house, a rusted steel clad hood draws the eye up to the vaulted, tongue and groove hemlock ceiling in the great room. The kitchen features super durable Dekton countertops, hand-made Fireclay ceramic tile in a herringbone pattern, and a copper farmhouse sink. Aluminum clad, wood doors and exposed aggregated concrete floors add texture and warmth to the interior. The master bath is kitted out with an open shower and a freestanding tub for ranch relaxo and is finished with a stripe of the hand-made ceramic tile and cabinetry echoing the vaulted ceiling of the great room.
“This reimagining of the local mission architecture deftly uses simple, durable materials and a unique courtyard focused plan to create a home well-suited for its desert environment while drawing attention back to the lifeblood of Phoenix, the canals.” says the architect.
Photography by Roehner + Ryan.