The Bradley Residence in Arizona
Michael P. Johnson
Imperial Tile Imports
The Bradley Residence in Scottsdale, an architecture characterised by floor-to-ceiling glass panels and white walls, stands out like an observatory in the Arizona desert landscape, a region where nature is unforgiving but whose wild appeal captivates lovers of open spaces, the boundless horizons punctuated by the distant ring of peaks and mountains. In this bold project created by Michael P. Johnson of Michael P. Johnson Design, the acclaimed American architect has succeeded in combining the legacy of the Modern Movement with the minimalism of Donald Judd. The distinctive appeal of his architecture lies its simplified layout and volumes together with a surface treatment that avoids all superfluity. The buildings focus the observer’s attention on their significant physical presence as part of the landscape.
The volumes of the Bradley Residence, geometrically defined by long straight lines delineating a large terrace that extends like a platform alongside the swimming pool, contain generously-sized rooms designed to house the numerous paintings, sculptures and design furnishings works owned by the client, a renowned modern and contemporary art collector. The white architecture appears to float semi-suspended over the surrounding terrain with contrasting material tones. It extends around a central hub, the focal point of public activities with a large, luminous living space and a kitchen-workshop that opens out onto the landscape, from where the private spaces of the bedrooms radiate out like spokes. The night time view of the residence has special appeal, when the carefully designed lighting of the rooms, the access way and the swimming pool area appears to transform it into a mysterious creature that emanates light of its own.
To underscore the unbroken dialogue between internal spaces and the 400 square metre external area that opens out onto nature, Michael P. Johnson chose porcelain tile from Arkim (Cooperativa Ceramica d’Imola) as the floor covering material, using the repetitive element of a luminous white tile of dimensions 30×60 cm to enhance the concept of residence/gallery requested by the owner of the Bradley Residence. The use of Italian ceramic tiles in another project — the Ellsworth Residence — by the architect from Cave Creek, Arizona, already twice winner of the Ceramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition, won him the recognition of the Ceramic Tiles of Italy Legend Award. The choice of De Natura 30×60 cm Thassos through-bodied porcelain tile in two finishes and the colour white, suited to the specific requirements, proved successful not only aesthetically and technically but also in terms of the broader sustainability of the project.
In both projects, the Bradley and the Ellsworth Residences, the use of ceramic tiles has brought advantages in terms of energy saving. When flooded with sunlight through the south-facing glass panels, they provide a heat sink, thereby reducing both heating costs and energy consumption.
Arkim (Cooperativa Ceramica d'Imola)
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,05%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): ULA, ULB, ULC
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 140 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 50 N/mm2
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant