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Explorations in 21st Century American Architecture Series
Rick Joy, an architect based in Tucson, Arizona, owes his reputation to his innovative residential designs, which respond gracefully to their desert environment.
Joy exploits natural and passive energy-saving techniques and unusual materials, such as rammed earth and rusting steel, to create striking architectural solutions for living in a hot, dry climate.
In this film, Joy takes viewers through the Desert Nomad House, built in 2005, which is composed of three rusted steel cubes gently set within a dense growth of saguaro cacti. Its steel exterior walls are thin to avoid attracting too much heat, yet designed to allow natural convection to flow between the outer skin and maple-paneled interior walls.
The film also features several current projects, as well as the Ventana Canyon Residence (2007), and Tucson Mountain House (2001) which Joy built with rammed earth, tamping down a mix of soil and a stabilizer to create thick walls with thermal properties.
In 2009, Joy, who grew up in Maine, completed his first project in the Northeast, a house in Woodstock, Vermont. Constructed from cedar shingles and stone, its vernacular form evokes a New England barn. The house reveals Joy's ability to sensitively design according to varied physical contexts.
Principal Funding provided by The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation