Desert Landscape – Everything but Water

In Architecture on

Have you ever thought about what attracts people to live and, in fact, build a custom home in a desert landscape? You can find almost everything but water. Desert Architecture, a Chibi Moku documentary series on Smart Healthy Green Living, explores this topic in a series of fascinating interviews with architects, designers, and homeowners.

Desert Architecture on Smart Healthy Green Living

Watch Desert Architecture on Smart Healthy Green Living.

One homeowner powerfully sums up the experience with “…the desert landscape has everything but water.” These homeowners had their custom home built on the side of a mountain. Any mountain in the desert landscape? Oh no…! They see specific cactus existing in specific cactus soil within the ecosystem of that particular mountain.

How Climate Impacts Sustainable Design

In response to the extreme conditions of sunshine, heat, and lack of water, desert homeowners, architects, and designers appear to be particularly tuned into the environment, the land, and the dictates of the desert landscape.  Eco thinking and eco building is nothing new or experimental in the desert landscape.  It is a necessity.  It is part of living in and with the desert landscape. Man has to adjust to such harsh conditions to manage the extreme environment.

So what does an eco-home improvement in a desert landscape look like? Images of Earthships and alternative lifestyles come to mind. Not in these carefully thought through, designed, and meticulously built, high-end, custom homes presented on Desert Architecture from Chibi Moku. The result is a beautiful, high-end, luxurious, sustainable home with truly cool designs.

Luxurious” and “sustainable home” in the same sentence? Yes indeed!

What does a luxurious sustainable home look like?  Let’s start with a dream kitchen (linkback to Timeless kitchen design article).  Let’s add in luxurious bathrooms and beautifully designed living rooms, bedrooms – all with high ceilings and the very best of materials and craftsmanship. That said, the color begins to suggest nature’s dictates over the structure. The overall color and textures inside and outside of these homes reflect the colors of the desert landscape, the color of the cactus soil.

When Landscape Design Takes Advantage Of The Heat

The desert landscape with everything but water results in lawn areas as mere token references.  The overall landscape design celebrates the fauna of the desert landscape. Manicured lawns feel almost a bit out of place. The shapes and sizes of the many varieties of cactus feel right as nature’s vertical elements surrounding these fabulous new homes.

in the dry desert landscape, architecture takes advantage of everything but water.

in the dry desert landscape, architecture takes advantage of everything but water.

The ChibiMoku team shows us modern homes with dramatic, expansive, floor-to-ceiling walls of windows. Conventional, and dare I say, limited eco-home improvement concepts might lead one to eliminate windows as a strategy to keep the sun outside and at bay.  However, in these luxurious desert homes sweeping overhangs project over terraces to provide beautiful shaded outdoor spaces AND, most importantly, to keep to the strong sun outside in the desert landscape.  And that’s the difference:  The whole architectural thinking begins and ends with considerations around how to handle the sun in conjunction with the fact that the habitat has everything but water.  This eco-awareness drives architecture and cool designs.

Instead of man dominating nature – in the desert landscape nature dictates to man.  When one is willing to surrender dominance over nature, nature and man can come into greater harmony and cohabitation. This is the lesson of architecture in a desert landscape with everything but water to all of us – no matter the particular landscape.