The desert isn't a typical destination that comes to mind when contemplating places to live, and that probably comes down to not having seen just how beautiful and rewarding it can be. One of the newest illustrated volumes from Phaidon, Living in the Desert, shows us 50 ways this challenging landscape has provided inspiration for contemporary residential architecture at its most clever.
Living in the Desert explores an array of structures in diverse places, including the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, giving insight into the ways both established and emerging architects have connected their buildings with their respective, unique, environments. To provide a comprehensive survey of the different approaches to architecture in the desert, the volume is divided into three themes: houses built to embrace the desert; houses built within the desert; and houses built to resist the desert, all examples demonstrating how there really is no such thing as a standard 'desert home'.
Standout projects include the truly innovative and unexpected, such as 'Mirage', a home clad completely in mirrors to appear as an otherworldly presence in its rocky surroundings, and sleek, stylised pods perched on low stilts within Mexico's wine country, consciously designed to limit the destruction of the panorama.
What I enjoyed most about Living in the Desert, is the way the book illustrates how the desert - the great unknown to most of us - is only as barren as the imagination.
Living in the Desert, published by Phaidon, is available in hardback at £29.95. 256 pages with 260 illustrations.