Open-sky living in Arizona
Imperia Tile Imports
Tempe Urban Living is a recently constructed residential complex situated in downtown Tempe, a city that extends across the plains of Arizona, its architecture inspired by the location’s strong colours, open spaces and essential structures. The designer of the complex, architect Ilan Baldinger, has been working for more than twenty years mainly in the states of Arizona and California. He has taught drawing and interior design at Arizona State University and completed a large number of residential and non-residential buildings. He described the concept behind the project: «These are fifteen modern tri-level urban dwelling units designed to maximize open space, day-lighting, energy efficiency, and privacy. The roof decks are designed as three-sided walled rooms with the roof removed. Additionally the city views are framed by an open structure enhancing the special experience. The interior spaces feature a tri-level design organized around a vertical stair shaft that is located at the middle of the unit. The shaft distributes daylight deep into the unit through a large circular skylight located at the top. As for the functional distribution of the spaces, the ground level features a covered carport, an entrance and a bedroom or office.
«The second floor is the main living space with a master bedroom, living room, kitchen and other support functions.» The overall impression is that of an abstract three-dimensional pictorial composition created in various shades of exposed concrete, with interesting plays of light and shadow created by the openings, the open frame structures, the windows that extend from floor to ceiling, the vibrant colours of the surfaces, and the minimalist but friendly style. «The simplicity of the dominant material — the concrete used for the loadbearing structure and the partition walls — is balanced by the ceramic tiles from Imola Ceramica which we chose for their characteristics as a durable and highly resistant product with outstanding aesthetic qualities. For the colours too we adopted the same principle of harmonious contrasts. The exterior colours of the cement board cladding are vibrant, they draw on the bright Southwest light and year round presence of strong colour. The interiors are neutral with shades of grey and beige. The Italian kitchen and bath cabinets introduce wood grain colour and texture.» The furnishings are essential and contemporary with a few visually striking elements: in the living space, the kitchen area features an island countertop and a suspended extractor hood, a cupboard that mimics the open structure of the facade and a large dining table. The colours of the sofas and chairs liven up the interiors, where the graphic stairway gracefully connects the various levels. The positions of the sanitary fittings with the freestanding tub in the spacious bathroom immediately creates a strong feeling of well-being. The main features are light and the simplicity of the composition. They are distinctive characteristics of the architectural studio of Ilan Baldinger, whose philosophy is summed up in the statement: «Creativity, innovation and artistry are essential for the creation of architecture that is enduring and enhances the human experience.» Furthermore, «sensible architecture strives to extract the essence of a building program and its intended use, working in close cooperation with the client».