Magazine article Sunset

As Simple and as Flexible as a Set of Children's Blocks; This Tucson House Has Five Modules and a Central Core

Magazine article Sunset

As Simple and as Flexible as a Set of Children's Blocks; This Tucson House Has Five Modules and a Central Core

Article excerpt

As simple in concept as a set of children's blocks, the layout of this house consists of five 24-foot-square modules arranged around a gallery and hardworking utility core. Architect Robert Swam created the design, built on a site in suburban Tucson. The core contains a kitchen, dining gallery, and two bathrooms, as well as a furnace and air conditioner, lined up east to west along the house's midsection. Opening off the core are modules for the living room, family room, master bedroom, studio-office, and garage. A modular plan offers great flexibility: once the core is built, you can attach however many modules you need in various arrangements. Roofs can be flat, hipped, vaulted, or gabled-whatever is appropriate.

To control Sonoran Desert heat and light, practically no openings face east or west. The exceptions are two narrow slit windows flanking the fireplace on the east wall of the living room. In contrast, both the north- and south-facing fascades are almost entirely floor-to-ceiling glass. The entry opens into the core's southeast corner, between the garage and living room modules. …

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