The Ranch Mine
The Ranch Mine
2. January 2017
Phoenix is a city known for, among other things, large blocks and a sprawling layout that points to a reliance on the automobile. Even with this morphology there is a shift toward public transportation. Uptown Row, designed by The Ranch Mine, is located close to one of the city's light rail stations. Accordingly, the layout of homes is dense, geared as much to walking as driving. The architects answered a few questions about the project.
Please provide an overview of the project.
In many ways, “Uptown Row” is a development between two worlds. The site is situated less than 500 feet away from a light rail station in Uptown Phoenix, between a heavy commercial thoroughfare and historic residential district. Its typology straddles the line between a single-family home and multi-family complex. It is part of a city that relies on the automobile but is actively shifting towards public transportation. This 10-unit greyfield development designed by young, national award winning Phoenix based architecture firm The Ranch Mine and built and developed by Boxwell Southwest finds harmony in a diverse neighborhood, stitching together disparate elements in a refined, modern complex.
What are the main ideas and inspirations influencing the design of the building?
The design intent of this development was to create a pedestrian friendly single-family area in a largely automobile centric city. The site plan breaks down into two identical, mirrored buildings, roughly the same size as the commercial buildings to the west and south. Each building contains five townhomes that break down the overall mass into widths roughly the same size of the historic homes to its east, providing a residential scale familiar to the neighborhood.
Specific attention was paid to the placement of windows and rooms, providing consistent "eyes on the street." The front units have ground floor offices with separate entrances from the home for the increasing number of people who have home businesses. Custom Cor-ten steel window boxes poke out from the standing seam metal skin to provide additional shade for these front facing windows. All of the units have 10 foot ceilings and large sliding glass doors that open up the inside to private courtyards, making the spaces live larger than their footprint.
How does the design respond to the unique qualities of the site?
There are three primary exterior materials in the development: rusted steel, adobe inspired face brick, and stucco. The rusted metal takes it cue from the heavy industrial feel to the west and south of the property, and clads the front of the structure as well as the drive court. The tallest part of the structure is clad in face brick that evokes the 90-year-old adobe house that book ends the opposite corner of the street, and is the oldest house on the block. The stucco and offset concrete block site walls bring in the most common materials in the neighborhood.
How did the project change between the initial design stage and the completion of the building?
The site plan primarily stayed the same, but the home sizes were reduced by roughly 200 square feet each, which also adjusted the exterior elevations.
Was the project influenced by any trends in energy-conservation, construction, or design?
The design focused on the trend of indoor-outdoor living and a more social, pedestrian friendly environment. Each home is accessed via pedestrian walkways amid desert plantings and a spaced block wall that provides casual opportunities for socializing with neighbors. Once inside the three-story home, stacked floor plans break down into living on the first floor that opens to semi-private courtyards through stacking glass doors, bedrooms on the second floor, and a flex space on the third floor that features a wet bar and opens out onto a trex-covered roof deck with a built-in grill, creating an ideal indoor/outdoor entertaining space that takes in amazing views of the city, mountains, and desert sky beyond.
Email interview conducted by John Hill.
Living to courtyard
Surrounding land use
Uptown site plan
The Ranch Mine
Architect of Record
Bingham Engineering Consultants
Windows and Doors
The Ranch Mine