DESERT HOUSE, Palm Springs, California | Jim Jennings

Desert House in Palm Springs, California, by San Francisco based Jim Jennings, was designed as the architect’s own retreat in 2009. It was conceived as a getaway from the desert, out of the driveways, with no house number, no front door, no structured landscape.

Its clean, minimalist lines, the flat, overhanging floating roof and the simple structure refer to Palm Springs 1950s Modernist Architecture, though its philosophy is slightly different. The Jennings house features an inverted openness, it does not extend to its surrounding landscape, but is all about enclosure, with the openness inside.

The living space is only 730 sq ft, but its footprint extends outdoors into east and west courtyards, reaching almost 3000 sq ft, defined behind its surrounding concrete block walls. These walls are the distinguishing feature of the house, ensuring privacy and solitude, creating an exclusive world within.

Photos © Joe Fletcher

Description by Jim Jennings Architecture:

On a desert site of undisturbed native vegetation, the modest retreat is defined by an 8-foot-high concrete wall that supports a steel roof structure and encloses two courtyards. Everything inside the containment wall functions as living space, making it a 2,900-square-foot, rather than a 730-square-foot (of climate-controlled area), house. In the traditional post-and-beam model, glass expanses blur the boundary between landscape and building. In contrast, this retreat is about the walled enclosure marking the building as volume and mass. What is adapted from mid-century design is the logic and clarity of an unconventional residential structural system – and the virtue of supreme indoor-outdoor living on a small scale.

1 carport
2 dining courtyard
3 living area
4 kitchen
5 bath
6 bedroom
7 pool courtyard
8 pool

Jim Jennings Architecture
Architectural Digest