Jeremy Levine’s ‘Cowboy Modern’ home in the California desert
The Cowboy Modern Desert Eco-Retreat is architect Jeremy Levine’s sustainable home, fully in sync with its natural California landscape
Nestled within desert flora and rocky hills, the Cowboy Modern Desert Eco-Retreat is architect Jeremy Levine’s personal getaway – an extraordinairy escape that is stylish and entirely off-grid property with no water, sewer, or mobile service. Dramatic as this might seem, this sustainable home is as visually and technologically sophisticated as they come, featuring sleek contemporary forms and eco-friendly systems.
Set in Southern California’s Mojave Desert near Pioneertown and Joshua Tree National Park, the two-bedroom residence is surrounded by mesas and low desert vegetation. Inspired by this beautiful natural landscape, the architect composed a home that acts as a flagship for sustainable living, both in terms of its building methods and its connection with its surroundings. Large openings, locally reclaimed weathered lumber for all interior and exterior wood, and a roof pitch that echoes the context’s angles, mean this retreat is very much in sync with its locale.
And while it seems placed simply in the middle of its plot, ‘much consideration was put into determining the best location and orientation for the house within the pristine landscape’, says Levine. Studying the area, the architect made sure to locate the structure in the path of canyon breezes, to capture the fresh air flow and help the building cool naturally.
Aiming for a zero-waste build, Levine prefabricated parts of the structure remotely to make sure assembly on site was swift and did not disturb the delicate local ecosystem. At the same time, ‘exposed steel framing was also inspired by simple metal structures on local horse ranches’, he points out. Further eco-friendly credentials include grey-water recycling, working with reused/reclaimed timber, and a near-net-zero status when the planned solar panels are installed on site – the next step for the enterprising architect.
Levine founded his architecture firm in 2002 in Los Angeles and has since specialised in sustainable approaches, working on a wide range of projects, and in particular residences that have a strong modern feel and are sensitive to their surroundings. He is also a passionate supporter of education and the arts. §