If ever there was a house to get me to move to the boiling hot desert, it would be this one – the Desert Courtyard House by Wendell Burnette Architects. Its Scottsdale, Arizona site is a peninsula of granite outcroppings and Saguaro cacti that levels out where the house is built, affording views of distant mountains. Sit back and mentally move in, like I have.

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The structure was constructed from excavated soil and cement, one of the oldest methods of construction called rammed earth.

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The home opens up to a serene courtyard with the surrounding building featuring floor-to-ceiling glass windows that blur the separation between indoors and out.

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The courtyard feels protected and private with open views of the desert sky. The interior spaces surrounding it benefit from the light flooding the central area.

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Photos by Bill Timmerman.