East Canyon Residence

Prescott Muir Architects (PMA)

During my time at PMA, I was involved in the final finishing details and documentation, specifically:

  • Wine door details
  • Documentation

AIA Award

When exposed to nature, building materials decay at different rates, which provide opportunities for design. Just like the human body, that absent surgical intervention over time provides an imprint of experience and behavior reflected in the contours of skin. The Canyon Residence location in the steep canyons overlooking the Salt Lake Valley, affords a direct engagement with nature not always found in the city. The severe desert sun on the western horizon in the summer has always been a challenge and conundrum for the development of the city with primary views that face this direction. Also, during the winter months for houses located in the canyons, the sun barely rises over the canyon rim, thus impeding access to direct sunlight for months at a time.

The house was built for a couple and their teenage children and needed to anticipate the transformation of the family dynamic in a very short period to entertain alternative uses while defining integral relationships with the site and vistas beyond that are static and predictable. The design is a series of cantilever living spaces anchored to the hillside with deep recesses oriented to the west. The building is suspended over earth-bound stone walls that incorporate cor-ten steel plates within the coursing which provide a different rate of erosion from the stone itself, one informing the other as an acceptance of time. This graceful engagement with entropy is a skill that architects have forgotten.