Ranch Mine adds steel-clad lookout tower to Arizona house

A home in Arizona designed by US studio The Ranch Mine features a tall volume that can “serve as a sentinel for potential forest fires” and is covered in wood and weathering steel.

The family home, known as Malapai Tower House, is located close to the mountain town of Flagstaff in northern Arizona amid a ponderosa pine forest.

Achieving a “harmonious symbiosis with the lush wilderness” was aspirational for the design team.

According to Phoenix-based The Ranch Mine, “it acts as a conduit between civilization and the wild. Therefore, uniting the comforts of home with the untamed beauty of the natural world.”

Reached by a winding, lengthy dirt road, the house sits atop a hill and is surrounded by a level area speckled with volcanic rock.

The word “malapai” (from the Spanish “malpaís”) means “bad terrain” and is often used to describe areas with eroded volcanic rock, hence the name of the project, Malapai Tower House.

The house has a roughly L-shaped floor layout with many gabled components and a rectangular tower.

The tall volume is the first feature of the house to be seen from the street and has a commanding presence. From inside the tower, people may look out over the landscape.

“The three-storey tower provides an elevated lookout, allowing occupants to marvel at snowfall on the pines or storms, or to serve as a sentinel for forest fires in the area,”

Furthermore, The team chose materials designed to fit in with the surrounding area for the external cladding.

The tower is covered with weathering steel, with an orange color chosen to produce a “cohesive aesthetic” and blend in with the iron-rich soil of the area.

Tongue-and-groove wooden boards encase the lowest chambers.

The base of the house is lined with stones from the area, and the roof is coated in standing-steam metal that has a color similar to pine bark.

“Leveraging the rugged terrain to their advantage, the architects utilised stones collected from the site to form the foundation skirt of the house,” according to the team.

“This not only anchors the home but also hardens it against approaching embers. Therefore, acting as a protective measure against forest fires.”

Furthermore, The 5,356-square-foot (498-square-meter) home has large rooms with a blend of industrial and earthy materials.

The great room, master bedroom suite, office, garage, and hunting prep area are among the private and public areas located on the main floor.

Moreover, There are two children’s bedrooms, a puzzle area, and a gym on the second floor. Just within the tower, on the third story, is a wellness area. Ranch Mine

The kitchen, where the family likes making and sharing meals, is a prominent area. Also, The room has a wood-fired grill with a limestone-clad chimney and a sizable island with a walnut countertop.

“The kitchen, positioned as the heart of the home, becomes a focal point where the family enjoys cooking over fire, often preparing the bounty of their land using their Grillworks grill,” the group stated.

The rough steel surround of the wood-burning fireplace in the adjacent living room. Not only can radiant concrete floors provide warmth on chilly days, but the hearth does too.

A stairway constructed of recycled wood and raw steel leads to the top levels. The kitchen is crossed by a bridge that leads to the tower.

Additionally, The expansive, double-height living area leads to an elevated patio with expansive views that may allow the owners to see elk and black bears, among other species.


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