Deserts, no matter where they are, hold a compelling allure for many. The sun burns in the daytime, and at night, the stars shine with a luminous intensity. With all its light and dark, it can be a place where human recalibration, restoration, and renovation are encouraged and allowed.
For millennia, the Mojave Desert of southern Nevada was known only to the Paiute and Anasazi Indians. It was a verdant area, replete with water, and because of these desert necessities, it became inhabited, and was named Las Vegas, meaning the meadows. In the mid-20th century, Las Vegas grew into a major city, but areas near Las Vegas still remained peaceful Mojave Desert suburbs. One is Henderson, 15 miles southeast of Las Vegas.
Now, incised into the McCullough mountain range, 1,000 feet above Henderson’s valley floor, are terraformed lots that constitute Ascaya, a new, ultra-high-end Desert Modern custom-home enclave. The first group of six homes, called Inspiration Homes, are underway, now being created by world-renowned architects and designers.
The first home has just been completed by SB Architects. SB Architects is known for site-sensitive designs, and this estate of stone and light is no exception. A significant example of this site sensitivity is the use of expanses of glass, allowing the home to embrace the surrounding desert landscape, and at night, to view the distant, glistening lights of the Las Vegas Strip.
But glass is just one element used to reflect and refract the desert landscape. Limestone flooring and western red cedar ceilings are also used to define the nuanced colours, moving the outside in. The home also features a covered outdoor, north-facing dining room, taking advantage of Las Vegas views, while at the same time, allowing for enhanced shade opportunities. The master bedroom nearby also has a panoramic north and west view.
From there, and from many other areas of this home, the fire pit can also be seen. And for everyone who wants to ponder sunrises and sunsets, moonrises and moonsets, an unimpeded view in all directions can be observed on the pool terrace, or upstairs on the roof deck.
“The home is a respite from often harsh desert elements,” says Scott Lee, president of SB Architects. “The overhangs and solid walls deflect sun and wind, while the operable doors provide views and natural ventilation and an inextricable connection to the desert. If there was no harshness, then no one could really appreciate shelter, safety and beauty, which is what our home provides.”
Matt Page, vice president of SB Architects, adds, “Drawing from our hospitality experience, we approached the Ascaya estate as a smaller-scale resort — incorporating an open layout with substantial gathering places, fluid connectivity from indoor-outdoor spaces, where future homeowners can create different settings and experiences. But in all, we wanted to create this sense of decompression, a place to breathe deeply and relax.”
Written by Susan Kime Photosgraphy by Ciro Coelho/SBArchitects