Steven Ehrlich adds to Palm Spring’s canon of landmark homes
Steven Ehrlich of Los Angeles-based EYRC Architects is behind this residential project – a modern concrete and weathered steel house, set in the striking, rugged landscape outside Palm Springs in the Californian desert
As a focal point for the rise and rise of ‘desert modernism’ from the mid-century period onwards, Palm Springs has always benefited from an extraordinary cluster of landmark homes. Now architect Steven Ehrlich has added to the canon with a new house just outside the city for some old and dear friends.
Sitting within a rugged landscape of mountains and gulleys the two-storey, three-bedroom house is a considered response to the desert setting. Bands of concrete tie the lower level of the house, plus the pool and terrace alongside, to the land while the upper storey is coated in plates of red, rusting steel that echo the sun-baked surroundings.
‘The site is unique and majestic,’ says Ehrlich. ‘The house is close to civilization yet feels remote and private. Building on such a craggy site was complicated but our contractors performed a feat of engineering. The pool and casita were built first, because they are on the downside edge of the ravine.’
One of the priorities in the design of the house was to create a vivid indoor-outdoor relationship. Ehrlich created a multi-purpose ‘great room’ on the ground floor with a vast bank of glass that slides away to connect with the pool terrace. Another key ambition was to weave a thread of sustainability through the whole project, which features natural cross ventilation and cooling techniques, as well as photovoltaic panels up on the roof and minimal landscaping using only native desert plants.
For Ehrlich’s clients the house is a delight: ‘We love the amazing views and the feeling that the house is in the wilderness, even though it’s an easy walk into town,’ they say. ‘With the house being in the mountains we have no neighbours, so we also love the peace and quiet. There’s no space in the house that isn’t calming, beautiful and inspiring.’ §