joshua tree

The Most Popular Story on Dezeen in 2017 by James Whitaker

This is a pretty nice piece of news to end the year with - Joshua Tree was the most popular article on Dezeen in 2017 (the world's most influential architecture and design magazine).

It's also been an exciting year for lots of my friends too, who are producing some brilliant work in their various fields. I hope you are all having a lovely holiday and can't wait to see where 2018 takes us all!

Happy New Year,

James

Joshua Tree Residence by James Whitaker

There have been lots of articles written about my design for a house in Joshua Tree, and thousands of comments about it online. However, I realised that I haven't actually written anything about the design myself. So here's a little bit about it, direct from the horse's mouth.

Earlier this year two girls were over in LA visiting friends and while there they called in to see the producer of the last film they worked on, my client. Having some time to spare, they all went on a road trip together out to Joshua Tree to visit my client's site - about a 3 hour drive from west LA. While there one of the girls said, "you know what would look amazing here" before opening up her laptop and showing everyone one of my images of Hechingen Studio.

Back in 2010 a friend was looking to start an advertising agency in southern Germany and commissioned me to design them an office for their new startup. Sadly their startup stopped before it started and the office was never built, but since then I've been looking for the right client and site to take the concept forward. My client and their site in Joshua Tree are perfect.

The plan of the house has been designed to nestle into the rocks and topography of the site, with the containers orientated to frame views or to gain privacy from the land. For example, the kitchen is orientated to view an east-facing hillside bathed in morning sunlight, framed by a glancing view of a small hill in the foreground and a larger hill in the mid-distance. The ensuite bathrooms are generally orientated to have a rock-strewn hillside right outside, providing privacy to the occupants.

Joshua Tree Residence Site Plan with View Lines

In 3D the location of the containers that reach towards the sky vary between primarily being concerned with drawing light deeper into the plan, and sometimes being concerned with lowering the wall between one space and another. An example of this is using a sky-bound container to lower the wall between the kitchen and the living room, so that while they're separate spaces there's a sense of them being part of the same room.

The plan was carefully composed, so that when you first arrive at the house and all the doors are open, you can stand in the middle of the building and look down all of the spokes of the building. When the bedrooms are occupied large pivoted doors swing across to line through with the walls of the living room making a clean space.

In terms of the climate of the site, the temperature range isn't as great as you might expect. However, one little frustration for residents in Joshua Tree is that the wind can constantly fill your home with dust. The decked area is situated between the northernly containers to reduce this problem and gain some protection from the building and landscape, creating a comfortable, usable space.

You can see more of the project here.

Intermodal Europe by James Whitaker

Joshua Tree Residence

On Wednesday I'm going to be talking about Hechingen Studio and Joshua Tree Residence at Intermodal Europe in Amsterdam.

Intermodal Europe is the world-leading exhibition and conference for companies associated with the container and intermodal industries...

If you're in Amsterdam over the next couple of days drop me a line and we can have a beer!

Joshua Tree Press Roundup by James Whitaker

Bored Panda Facebook Post

What a crazy couple of weeks! In September I contacted Dezeen about a house that I'm designing at the minute and it ended up being their most popular article for 10 days. It went viral. Forbes wrote about it. The Metro would like to see it on Airbnb. One reader of Bored Panda thought that it would increase his chance of being abducted by aliens. CNN featured it, as did Huffington Post Deutschland, The Sunday TimesDwell, Archdaily, Elle Decoration NetherlandsCurioctopus, Curbed, Inhabitat, Casa Claudia, Ignant, Hypebeast, Design Boom, Demilked, Konbini, The Awesome Daily, Inside Hook, Plain, World Architecture Community, Mind Body Green, New Atlas, Architectura Viva, Interesting Engineering... There are a whole load more articles out there to explore but even this shortened list is very flattering. I'm looking forward to the next stage now!