Vision and Site

Overhangs and energy-efficient glass shield the home from the Arizona heat.
Vision and Site
Architect’s location-specific design draws the desert mountains indoors.

Views, views everywhere – and plenty of fresh desert air. That was architect Mark Sever’s recipe for making an indoor-outdoor living masterpiece in north Scottsdale, Arizona.

“Arizona’s environment is completely unique to the rest of the world,” says Sever, principal of Sever Design Group. “It’s a desert climate, so nine months out of the year, it’s spectacular. You really let the weather live around your lifestyle.”

“I like to specify lots of glass… every space has a view.” Mark Sever, Sever Design Group

To capitalize on the desert landscape, architect Mark Sever went big with glass, incorporating floor-to-ceiling sliding patio doors.
To capitalize on the desert landscape, architect Mark Sever went big with glass, incorporating floor-to-ceiling sliding patio doors.

To capitalize on the distinct desert landscape and create seamless indoor-outdoor connections, Sever went big with glass, incorporating floor-to-ceiling sliding patio doors, multi-slide doors, a pivot door, and vast expanses of windows into his design.

“I like to specify lots of glass,” Sever says. He turned to Western Window Systems for the most striking solutions. “Western Window Systems has been able to create massive walls of glass with minimal vertical interruption.”

“In the summer, I’m in the shade by 9:30 in the morning and the glass never sees direct sunlight again, all day long.” Mark Sever, Sever Design Group

Much of the home interior can be seen through the moving walls of glass in the back.
Much of the home interior can be seen through the moving walls of glass in the back.

Sever outfitted nearly every area of the house with massive glass, including the front entrance. “As you walk through this house, you’ll find that it’s only about one room wide,” Sever says. “Every space has a view—it’s not just a view to the backyard. Most of the spaces have backyard and front yard views, and incredible views into the courtyard, too.”

A glass pivot door provides a dramatic entrance into the home.
A glass pivot door provides a dramatic entrance into the home.

Another trick with site-specific design for a desert home relies on protection from the region’s notorious heat. Sever managed to use a gratuitous amount of glass while still shielding the space from the sun. “I designed [this home] around the site’s sun angles,” he says, “So, in the summer, I’m in the shade by 9:30 in the morning and the glass never sees direct sunlight again, all day long.”

“Every room in this house wants to welcome the outdoors in.” Mark Sever, Sever Design Group

Every room in the house has a view through massive glass.
Every room in the house has a view through massive glass.

In addition to harnessing desert views while building around the site’s solar patterns, Sever was able to give almost every room in the house a strong indoor-outdoor connection through floor-to-ceiling glass.

“I spend a lot of time outdoors. A lot of my clients like to spend time outdoors,” Sever says. And with Western Window Systems products, “Every room in this house wants to welcome the outdoors in.”

Dealer: Roadrunner Glass Company

#3d6f77