East Canyon Residence
Carrigan Canyon, Utah
When exposed to nature, building materials decay at different rates, providing intriguing opportunities for design. Similarly, over the lifetime of a human body, the absence of surgical intervention leaves room for the imprint of experience and behavior reflected in the contours of skin. The Canyon Residence's location in the steep ravines overlooking the Salt Lake Valley affords a direct engagement with nature not always found in the city. The relentless desert sun on the western horizon in the summer has always presented a conundrum for the development of the city with primary views that face this direction. Also, during the winter months, the sun barely rises over the canyon rim, impeding access to direct sunlight for houses located in the canyons for months at a time.
The house was built for a couple and their teenage children and needed to anticipate the transformation of the family dynamic in a very short period; simultaneously, it had to define integral relationships with the static site and predictable vistas beyond. The design is a series of cantilevered living spaces anchored to the hillside with deep recesses oriented to the west. The building is suspended over earth-bound stone walls that incorporate CorTen steel plates in the coursing that provide a different rate of erosion from the stone itself, one informing the other as an acceptance of time. This graceful engagement with entropy is a skill that architects have largely forgotten.Images