Launch Slideshow

Desert Panorama House, La Quinta, Calif.

Desert Panorama House, La Quinta, Calif.

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    Steve King

    Monolithic forms pass through the building, treating indoor and outdoor space as a single element.

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    Laser-cut aluminum screens pivot to open the entry courtyard.

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    Pivoting glass doors open the house to the entry courtyard.

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    The kitchen occupies one end of a living space so open to the outdoors that it is defined mainly by the ceiling above.

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    Terrazzo covers the first floor; terrazzo pavers line the cast concrete staircase.

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    The living area’s sliding glass doors constitute 90 feet of disappearing wall.

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    The master bedroom’s second-floor perch affords dramatic mountain views.

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    The master bath opens onto a rooftop terrace.

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    Courtesy XTEN Architecture

    The first floor plan and section

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    Courtesy XTEN Architecture

    The second floor plan and section

The Desert Panorama House stands atop a knoll in the mountain-ringed Coachella Valley, and it responds to the scale of the landscape with expansive gestures of its own. Two massive stone walls describe the east-west view axis, supporting equally substantial white-stucco floor and roof elements. “We’re framing spaces with these parallel walls,” explains architect Austin Kelly. In addition to directing attention toward the distant peaks, “they feel kind of primitive ... related directly to the rock in the mountains.” Floor-to-ceiling operable glass panels—including a 90-foot-long sliding assembly that defines the north and west boundaries of the kitchen/dining/living room—bridge the building’s solid elements without compromising their monolithic independence. White terrazzo spans from indoors to outdoors, extending the floor planes toward the horizon. The jury admired this “interlacing of exterior and interior,” calling the building “brilliant in its flow of space.” Said one judge, “its translucence with the landscape is amazing.”­


Entrant/Architect/Interior designer: XTEN Architecture, Culver City, Calif.; Builder: M.A.P. Development, Manhattan Beach, Calif.; Landscape architect: Pamela Burton & Co., Santa Monica, Calif.; Living space: 7,900 square feet; Site: 0.87 acre; Construction cost: Withheld; Photographer: Steve King.


Bathroom and kitchen cabinets: Modulo Cucine, www.modulocucine.com; Bathroom fittings: Gessi, www.gessi.it, Hansgrohe, www.hansgrohe-usa.com; Bathroom fixtures: Agape, www.agapedesign.it, Hansgrohe; Cooktop: Viking, www.vikingrange.com; Dishwasher, oven, and refrigerator: Miele, www.mieleusa.com; Doors: Fleetwood, www.fleetwoodusa.com; Garbage disposer: Insinkerator, www.insinkerator.com; Hardware: Ashley Norton, www.ashleynorton.com, Soss Hinges, www.soss.com; HVAC equipment: Mitsubishi, www.mehvac.com, Anemostat, www.anemostat.comKitchen fittings: Dornbracht, www.dornbracht.com; Kitchen fixtures: Julien, www.julien.ca; Lighting fixtures: RSA, www.cooperindustries.com, Se’Lux, www.selux.us; Paints/stains/wall finishes: Benjamin Moore, www.benjaminmoore.com; Windows: Metal Window Corp., www.metalwindowcorp.com