This is what iconic Desert Modernism looks like.

In seven short years, The Ranch Mine has moved to define itself as one of the most iconic and acclaimed architecture firms in the Valley. Just revealed in the past few weeks, its latest infill home, Canal House, has already garnered international attention from such publications as Dwell, Dezeen, Curbed, ArchDaily, and others.

From its thoughtful research on “granny flats” as part of suburban retrofitting, to its array of addition-renovations of midcentury modern homes so central to Arizona’s architectural heritage, to a new set of infill projects like the award-winning Link House and trend-setting, light rail-adjacent Uptown Row townhomes, the firm is setting the tone of the Valley’s development arc of the future.

For its latest, the husband-and-wife firm re-teamed with local builder Boxwell Southwest to another piece of Arizona lore, the canal.

Created in homage to the mission-style architecture which represents the Southwest’s earliest colonial heritage, Canal House directly addresses the city’s liquid lifeblood, defying decades of ignorance from neighborhoods and developments of all stripes. The single-family dwelling sits and an oddly-shaped lot, touching four other midcentury homes on its sides, and the canal on another, most prominently viewed from 12th Street.

The home’s primary entrance appears off the Arizona Canal itself, leading visitors into a brick entry, branching off into twin-peaked wings, topped by rusted roofs designed to shimmer in the Valley sunlight.

 The home’s true centerpiece then comes in its literal center: The interior courtyard.

With windows looking out onto the yard from three sides, the courtyard seals the Mission-styled influence. Both the public and private wings of the house lead visitors into this oasis, with plenty of windows, but designed for maximum shade and insulation.

As with all of the Ranch Mine’s projects, Canal House was designed in direct response to the Valley’s climate, and with nods to its architectural heritage. Though featuring obvious interiority in its courtyard, the home relates strongly to the public realm along the canal, providing ample balance between moods in a city so accustomed to shutting itself off from its surroundings.

In addition to working alongside local builder and consistent partner Boxwell Southwest, Ranch Mine utilized custom corrugated metal from Reid Metal Designs, and staging for the house from Modern Manor furniture and interior design.

As the Valley rethinks its sprawling past, The Ranch Mine leads the way in reconsidering how to develop within the metro’s existing footprint.

All images by Roehner + Ryan, courtesy of The Ranch Mine.

For(u)m is a membership-based program of Local First Arizona dedicated to furthering diverse, context-sensitive and responsible development through infill, adaptive reuse, preservation, and redevelopment. The program serves as an information exchange that organizes and informs development professionals focused on urban infill projects, advocating for a balanced dialog between residents, city government, and business stakeholders. Learn more here.