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The 1340 House

By Jason Isenberg of Realm




Located in Tucson, Arizona, the 1340 House features a landscape in the ''industrial warehouse modern'' aesthetic. The project was designed and installed by Realm. Photos courtesy of Realm

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Playworld Visionaire Lighting

Realm creates a nighttime wonderland that matches the aesthetic of the project's modern design. The inspiration for the 1340 House landscape started with the unique design of the house itself. Stylistically, the structure is ''industrial warehouse modern'' but the building is equipped with a Cheap Led Lights number of pragmatic features that make it stand out from its modern counterparts around town. From corrugated shutters that allow the homeowners to shut out the harsh and energy-zapping desert heat to foam-filled block walls with high-insulation values, the house was an example of sustainable and uncommon high design.

The materials for the landscape were chosen to intentionally echo those of the house all in an effort to pull the users into the space and break down the ever-too-common walls (both physical and metaphorical) that either shut people out or sequester people in. To heighten this effect, the integral color concrete was chosen to match the interior flooring so that there would be little to no variation when transitioning from inside to outside.







The inner retaining wall was added to allow for built-in seating, dining areas, a cooking space, and a firepit. The sunken patio provides a feeling of privacy, but also is a depression used to capture rainwater. The rainwater is fed passively to the to trees on the outside of the wall through the floor drains. Direct burial low-voltage lighting wire was run for the lighting, and FX Luminaire, Nightscaping and Hadco products were used, all of which were low-voltage. All power comes from a 12-volt 900-watt transformer plugged into an outside AC outlet.






The sunken patio space took about a week to excavate. It was completed partially by hand and also using a skid steer loader.


Rainwater Capture

The landscape space was initially quite dull. Originally configured with thirsty plant varieties and capturing zero water from precious rains, the first thing that needed to happen, both aesthetically and strategically, was to create a sense of dimension in the space. So we dug down. Not only did this lower the user well below the perimeter wall [resulting in an additional feeling of privacy] but it allowed for a deliberate depression that could be used to elegantly capture rainwater.

Another conscious effort was creating a space that made sense. Why would one go out to the far reaches of the yard if all that existed was plant material and nothing else. An over-maintained, over-watered and under-utilized yard is not a responsible choice. So usable elements were chosen.

Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen space that looks like no other (wok burner, BBQ, sink formed out of poured concrete), built in bancos for gathering around a fire pit and dining amongst friends, an outdoor shower that invites users to bathe under the stars, a modest (and shaded) water feature that beckons to birds and pollinators and a veggie garden that yields edibles in exchange for the valuable resources being used.

In the process of creating this space, though, water was the central concern. The sunken patio space was outfitted with area drains that capture rainwater and redirect it to tree wells on the outside of the perimeter wall. The sink and the outdoor shower recycle gray water and direct it to plants on the property, including the riparian plantings that like wet feet in the shower itself. And the plant material was all chosen to provide interest, drama, color, and attraction to fauna and, all the while, use as little water as possible.

But to really pull it all together, the space needed to be inviting. And that's where the lighting came in. Oftentimes, landscape lighting is ordinary, leaving the homeowner uninspired and wandering around in both the literal and figurative dark. Balance needed to be achieved. We wanted to avoid over-doing it and having the landscape look like a resort. We also made certain to steer clear of the all-too-common mistake of creating the airport runway effect. However, creating dimension at night and allowing for some drama was important. How else would the user be drawn out of their couch-sitting world and into the landscape once the sunset?







Pictured here are Pedilanthus macrocarpus (Ladyslipper), Aloe ferox (Cape Aloe), Euphorbia antisyphilitica (Candellia), and Bulbine frutescens (Bulbine). All lighting is managed from a transformer located on other side of the wall, out of sight. The wall sconces were salvaged from an old warehouse, and are 110-volt and switched from inside the home.






Each step has two 12-volt HADCO 20-watt louvered path lights that were placed five feet apart.


Strategic Lighting Placement

Lights were chosen strategically. The Nightscaping Jayliter, a diminutive accent up light, was selected for its adjustability (angular and height) and its tough looking styling. It was even powder-coated black so that it resembled a military-inspired flashlight. The FX Luminaire Metallo Pessante fixture was introduced in order to up-light all trees on the property and that company's stellar transformer was used as the power-source for the whole lighting scheme. Once the upper-story was handled, path-lights by HADCO were installed. The copper finish (now with a patina that looks like an old penny, blending with the copper and rusted steel on site) and rectilinear nature of the GAL3 was a perfect fit for the space. They are positioned so as to provide just enough ground illumination and to avoid any hotspots from diners nearby. But two other applications were necessary that prefab fixtures weren't equipped to handle.







The plants are up-lit using FX Luminaire Metallo Pessante fixtures with 12-volt MR-11 lamps. Shown here are Salvia clevlandii (Chaparral Sage), and the tree is Prosopis velutina (Velvet Mesquite).






Clockwise from left: This Aloe dichotoma is being lit from above with a halogen spot fixture - The sink and the outdoor shower recycle water and direct it to the riparian plantings. - Here, Nightscaping Jayliters, powder-coated black to look like Mag flashlights, provide dramatic up-lighting to a Pedilanthus macrocarpus (Ladyslipper). - FX Luminaire Metallo Pessante fixtures were used to up-light all the trees on the property, including the Prosopis velutina (Velvet Mesquite) shown here.


Sunken Patio

One such area was the sunken patio space. As is so often the case, hardscaped areas become black holes in otherwise well-lit zones. To provide light and a bit of ''swankiness,'' LED rope lighting was installed in strategically formed channels in the vertically-poured concrete elements. So now when guests are dining or having cocktails, the space glows from light emitted from beneath the dining banco, fire-pit banco and the kitchen countertop. Additionally, the LED lights use very little energy and bulb replacement is impressively infrequent.

The second application requiring a bit of invention was the cooking area. Because prepping and serving food in the dark is never a good idea, a light source was needed. Playing off of the industrial nature of the design, copper pipe was configured so as to provide lighting directly over the wok, grill and serving counter. The simple piping was fitted with the guts of old, low-voltage lights and these custom fixtures were born - a low cost, high impact solution to an otherwise universal problem.

Once the lighting installation was accomplished, the 1340 House landscaping was complete and ready to enjoy.


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August 21, 2019, 1:26 am PDT

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