Design: Joy Charbonneau
Construction: Joy Charbonneau with Derek McLeon
Materials: Steel frame, desert rock filled gabions, ipe deck, birch plywood, maples hard wood windows, jatoba wood framed door, urethate coated concrete
Material Donations: Modular Gabion Systems, Binswanger Glass, Advantage Trim & Lumber Co.
In 2003-2004, Joy Charbonneau attended Taliesin, home of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, in Scottsdale AZ on a Howarth-Wright Graduate Fellowship from the University of Toronto. The educational program includes the opportunity to design and build a desert shelter in which the student may live. Ms. Charbonneau created a structure for herself and future Howarth-Wright Fellows. She describes her project this way:
"I intended to provide space conducive to researching and reflective thinking, as well as a mechanism for experiencing the hostile desert. To achieve this, I designed space around time and temperature, along with typical site considerations. The main interior space is surrounded by gabion walls that contextually reference the deset masonry at Taliesin. These porous masses allow air to filtrate through them while shielding heat.
The deck cantilevers over the wash and terminates inside, providing seating in front of the fireplace. An elevated steel box penetrates the gabion wall to provide a sleep space away from the anxieties of the desert. The Birch ply interior adds material warmth and its western orientation allows the evening sun to radiate inside for the cold nights. Two large windows open the one end completely and present a night view of the city of Scottsdale."