Arlington, AZ

Ski Ranch

Project type
New Build - Single Family
Main House - Identity Construction, Boat House - Krofchek Quality Construction
House Design
The Ranch Mine
Architect of Record
Interior Design
The Ranch Mine
Interior Decor
Landscape Design
The Ranch Mine
Photo credit
Roehner + Ryan
Sunset Magazine

Bordering the Gila River in central Arizona sits a waterski community created just before the Great Recession. Other than a few uninhabited boat houses, the recession caused the community to sit vacant for over 15 years after until a pioneering couple decided to build the first house in the development, an off the grid capable, Bauhaus inspired, desert adapted, modern yet approachable lake house made for indoor/outdoor living. We started the design with a simple yet powerful move of creating an unbroken walkway leading directly from the street, through the front courtyard, into and through the house, and down to the boat house. The walkway is board stamped concrete, a desert adaptation of the classic beachfront boardwalk, and runs perpendicular to the lake. This compositional element emphasizes homeowners’ main priorities, waterskiing and paddle boarding, drawing them and visitors to the lake upon arrival. The first part of the program the walkway passes are the garages, splitting them into two. One garage provides parking and electric charging for the cars, while the other provides storage for all the recreational toys and tools to go off-roading and mountain biking as well as the long term boat storage. On top of the garages is a 10kw solar photovoltaic system that provides all the energy the house needs to run and enough to also charge the cars. That combined with retention basins to collect rainwater, a well and septic allow the house to be completely off the grid, although it is hooked up to the utility provider to earn money with the excess power it creates. A rusted steel gate then leads you into the courtyard. The courtyard was created to provide an outdoor living space protected from harsh desert winds, a place where the homeowners could soak in morning sun or escape it in the hot afternoon, swim in the 88 x 8 foot pool, relax in the hot tub, and cook dinner over an open fire. The home has 4 fireplaces, all outdoors, inspired by the owners time spent in Argentina where cooking on open fires is a timeless Gaucho tradition. Between the courtyard and the lake is the long, narrow house, echoing the linearity of the lake while making the most of the views. The narrow floor plate also allows for excellent cross ventilation and natural light. The house was conceived as a large roof sitting on stilts in a rhythmic pattern, not unlike the grid of slalom buoys on the lake, providing seamless, covered indoor outdoor living. In fact, the livable space is just a mere 40% of the total square footage that is under roof. The grid is based on the number 8 which is auspicious in Asian culture and represents infinity or smooth never ending turns like skiers do in the slalom course on this lake. The final segment of the walkway takes you down to the boat house on the lake. The boat house packs a lot into its 172 square feet, with a conditioned kitchen with a pass through bar for dining and its conditioned bunk room. The bunk room provides additional sleeping accommodations that double as a place to store the standup paddle boards, or SUPs, and a changing area. Under the roof is also a living area, outdoor shower, TV, waterskiing equipment storage, and the boat slip where the boat can be lifted out of the water.

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Our work


looking through a pivot door to a boat house on a lake
Reach out