Jones Studio Office
Hidden in plain sight, an oasis in the desert
After more than three decades in the hallowed modernist office building designed by local architect Al Beadle, the Jones brothers were compelled to craft a studio space to call their own. Not only would the new office provide a home better tailored to the evolving needs of the studio, but also the opportunity to exhibit the sustainable practices and innovative, bioclimatic design we pursue in all our projects. The chosen site was a previously undeveloped infill lot in a quiet, mixed-density residential neighborhood, close to Arizona State University, the vibrant downtown area of Tempe, and a growing transportation network connecting the Valley of the Sun. Our goal was to create an environment to inspire and stimulate our senses, while remaining sensitive to our site and integrated into the community.
The material palette for the studio is simple, durable, and representative of our climate. On the exterior, natural tones of weathering steel and sandblasted concrete masonry at the ground level are complemented by the reflections of the desert sky on the glass and metal panels above. Using an otherwise unassuming material, the exterior concrete block walls create a dynamic veil that wraps the building and frames the entry gardens. The screened gardens provide privacy and views to nature from the work spaces throughout the office, reinforcing a quiet reverence of our desert home.
On the interior, the changing light of the day is observed on the white walls and ceilings, reflecting the warmth of the red carpeting throughout the work area and the golden brass shimmering in the conference room. The main studio space is designed around the concept of the “family table,” with desks and conference spaces branching from one linear table stretching the length of the office. These spaces are naturally lit with daylight balanced from the full-height ground level glazing along the north garden and the southern clerestory where the sun reflects off the mezzanine and floods the ceiling with natural light. Punctuations of colored light pique intrigue throughout the office, from the dichroic skylight that changes hue with the arc of the sun to the tinted windows glowing through apertures in the masonry.
The concrete block screen walls elevate a common material to a revelation. Beginning at the east end of the site, the wall starts with standard masonry construction. As the wall extends west, the blocks begin to incrementally separate and rotate, opening the wall to more light and the view beyond. With each step, the openings expand further until each block becomes an element within the unfolding composition. On the opposite end of the wall, wrapping the west face of the conference room and the southern exposure of the building, the blocks aggregate into a solid wall again.
As a symbol of our values, the studio is imbued with sustainable, resilient design strategies. Natural daylighting is abundant throughout the year and sliding doors integrated into the north glazing provide natural ventilation in more temperate seasons. Water harvesting is blended into the experience of the studio entries, where rainwater collected on the roof and entry canopies cascades through the weathered steel downspouts and into the below-grade greywater tank and sustains the surrounding xeriscaped gardens and parking area.