Eco Dream… or Nightmare? | Home Design Find
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Eco Dream… or Nightmare?

Platform Desert Houses1 green
This carefully designed housing complex from Platform for Architecture + Research is all very environmentally correct, but to my eye there is also something a little horrifying about this Mojave Desert subdivision on bare sand with this very sparse vegetation. Were people ever supposed to live in this bleak environment?

To me this looks like futuristic housing, that we will live on in after we have driven off nearly all the flora and fauna that evolved with us through the millennia, and they have now gone extinct, yet we go on regardless, driving our cars mindlessly.
Platform Desert Houses3 green
The environmentally sensitive housing complex of 18 homes is  designed to withstand the harsh sun of the desert outside Palm Springs in California, with all the eco-correct appurtenances.

Each single family residence has its own solar roof, solar passive design – with appropriate shading and thermal massing – shaded glazing as well as xeriscaping around each of the homes. Natural paving on the roads minimize land disturbance.

Platform Desert Houses4 green
The entire project sits discretely enough on a 15 acre plot of land, thoughtfully subdivided and planned to sit as naturally as possible within the landscape in an attempt to minimize disturbances.
Platform Desert Houses2 green

Most of the living spaces are outdoors, to take advantage of the temperate, sunny climate for fall, winter and spring. All the eco boxes are checked. It sure beats the typical builder subdivision… but. How depressing.

What do you think? Is that just me? Is this an Eco Dream or our nightmare future?

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9 Comments so far to “Eco Dream… or Nightmare?”
  1. Louie Says:

    With a sand-colored stucco finish, maybe rounded a bit, they could blend in much better with the terrain. Maybe even some decoration with a nod to the southwest style. It would help to make them much less sterile looking, and fit the environment better. Maybe we weren't meant to live in this kind of area, but it would feel more comfortable by taking cues from desert peoples.

  2. maury dickson Says:

    This could be our future….How sad!

  3. CCCampbell Says:

    Sounds like you don't like the desert. Not bulldozing the site and leaving the landscape alone is what the best of low impact is. The house and setting is fabulous. This article would be completely different if this property was set in any other environment. Amateur hour at HDF.

  4. GottaRun Says:

    I think it is fantastic. But I live in the desert.

  5. Karen Scribner Says:

    I have lived in the desert and loved it. The part of your yard that is looked at should be xeriscaped to save water…….there are plenty of plants that grow on rainwater only once established. The roofs should be constructed to collect rain water with a proper storage tanks. The places for people to lounge or play should be just right, using grasses that don't require a lot of water (yes, they exist). The lattice concrete blocks can be used to pave driveways so that less heat is soaked up and the rainwater can get into the ground.
    Improper desert living can be seen in Phoenix area where they flood yards with canal water. There is a mosquito problem there.
    Deserts are not depressing!

  6. Susan Kraemer Says:

    Maybe you desert-friendly folk have a point. I was letting my fears about water scarcity make this look frightening. It is true that the design is very low impact and if I didn't see deserts as such a threat to human life, of course I would see the great design differently.

  7. Susan Kraemer Says:

    OK… I guess I need to experience it… ;-)

  8. nan Says:

    I'm a desert rat, so this doesn't bother me. The desert is teeming with life even though it doesn't look like it on the surface. What does concern me, though, is water. What is the water source? How deep is water? There may be enough rainfall for water catchment, but just barely. I am tired of new growth in water-sparse areas.

    How far is this from a town, too? It's not so eco-friendly if you have to drive everywhere.

  9. Susan Kraemer Says:

    Hi Nan, didn't know you were a desert rat! About water: agreed. This is part of how inhospitable it looks to me.

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