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“The building of STRATA outside of Phoenix, Arizona, was an act of audacity, perseverance, and grit, as is any undertaking in the deserts of the American Southwest.”

STRATA: a desert dwelling

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STRATA a desert dwelling


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Author James Moore McCown
Foreword by C.P. Drewett
Photography by Werner Segarra
Edited by Oscar Riera Ojeda


The three responsible entities—Drewett Works Architecture, Desert Star Construction, and David Michael Miller, Ltd. Interiors, drew on the long, great tradition of 20th-century modernism in Arizona, whose very name means “dry” (Arrida Zona) in Spanish. Frank Lloyd Wright and Richard Neutra are just two modern masters who have attempted to tame the Arizona desert, make it habitable, and add to its natural beauty.

STRATA celebrates modernist design in multiple ways. Its vast use of glass blurs the inside with the outside. Its deep overhanging eaves intersecting with each other at various angles recalls the best work of Wright. Its expansive glass calls to mind Neutra’s work and his insistence on architectural transparency. The house’s imaginative interiors bespeak comfort and solace needed for days spent in the unforgiving Arizona sun. Its construction required extensive work on the site before the first slab was poured, a testament to the talent of the construction team. Whenever and wherever possible, native stone and wood were used to give the house a sense of authenticity. The sliding glass doors located at multiple points allow the owners to have delightful dinner parties just as the sun is setting and the dry air is cooling – neither indoors nor outdoors, but a vivid combination of the two.

This book is about the process of building STRATA and also puts the house in historical perspective with an essay, “Building in the Sonoran Desert,” by James Moore McCown, a prominent architectural journalist based in Boston. This work is careful to chronicle the work of all three collaborators – without one of them, the results would not have been possible. The Architect. The Interior Designer. The Builder. All get their due in STRATA, a celebration of audacity and the beauty of the American Southwest.

a desert dwelling

Book Size: 9.6 x 13.3 in / 243.84 x 337.82 mm
Format: Portrait
Pages: 268
Language: English
Photographs: 220
Illustrations: 25
Edition/ISBN: Hardcover in Slipcase(978-1-946226-69-3)