Desert Home Architecture - Mixing the Ancient and Modern

There is something eye-cathing in desert home architecture. We do not know whether it is that mix of ancient and modern, or mesmerizing landscapes. What we do know for sure is that living in such a house is a dream of many.

And since you are here, we reckon that you are one of those desert architecture lovers. If that is the case, you are in luck because that is exactly what we will discuss in this article. Below, you will find all the information on what makes desert home architecture so stunning and what to consider whether you are designing one or claiming an abandoned property you wish to renovate and turn into an astonishing desert house.

The Basics of Desert Home Architecture

The first thing to know about desert home architecture is that it is not like regular house design. It requires some specific knowledge and skills to create one of a kind desert home. The first question you should ask yourself is what makes the desert so unique. The answer is simple:

  • fierce heat
  • vastness
  • isolation

All these three factors require creating a unique type of house that is both functional and comfortable to live in. The differences between desert home architecture and traditional house design are essential to understand before you begin your journey into creating your own desert property.

Let us begin with the most obvious difference - the climate.

The Climate

First and foremost, let's talk about the climate. Isolated and exposed to extreme heat, the desert is not the, to say the least, most comfortable place to live. What’s more, living in extreme temperatures can also be dangerous, as it significantly increases the risk of heat stroke or hyperthermia.

What’s worse, they can lead to kidney failure and even death. And that is why your primary concern should be keeping cool in the desert. During summer, you have to make sure that your house stays cool. Finding reliable air conditioner & cooling services is a must.

You should also consider using passive cooling and heating techniques. For instance, when it is hot outside, you should block sunlight coming into your house by closing all windows and shades. Doing that will create a chilling environment inside your home. On the other hand, when it is cold outside (especially at night), you should use reflective or thermal insulation to keep your house’s heat.

When it comes to that, you can also think about getting garage door weather stripping to create a more comfortable and temperate environment in your garage. In fact, when dealing with such extreme weather conditions, the more cooling and insulation solutions, the better.

The Design

Another difference between desert house architecture and traditional home is the design. Desert home architecture is about making your property blend in with its surroundings so that it does not look out of place or attract unwanted attention.

Thus, you may have to compromise on the size of your house if you want it to blend in with its surroundings and be invisible to outsiders. A small house that mingles in with the environment will look more natural than a big one placed among smaller homes.

You should also consider using screens to control and reduce the sunlight that comes inside the building. To achieve this, you should also make your house hermetical - the fewer windows, the less sunlight will come inside.

Another thing to keep in mind when designing a desert home is to use the right colors. The best idea is to paint your walls and roof in lighter colors to reflect light rather than absorb it. Doing that will help you keep the temperatures at bay during the day, making dealing with heat much more effective.

The Materials

Another difference is the materials used in construction. You can use many types of materials to build your house, and each has its pros and cons. However, some are better suited for desert homes than others.

For instance, tile roofs are an excellent option for desert homes as they provide protection from extreme heat and sunlight while being easy to maintain and repair. Furthermore, tiles are lightweight, making them easier to install than conventional roofing materials such as asphalt shingles or metal sheets.

Tile roofs are also fireproof, which means that they do not spread fires like asphalt shingles do (at least, this is true for clay tiles). And since they are waterproof, they can prevent water damage caused by rain. Just remember that clay tiles are heavy, so bear that in mind when installing them on your roof. Also, avoid using wood for your house’s frame as it will warp in high temperatures and humidity levels, which will make your walls crack.

House Orientation

Another difference between desert home architecture and traditional home design is the orientation or directions that rooms face. In the desert, there are only two options for where you should place your rooms - towards the north or south. South-facing rooms receive the most heat from the sun, so avoid putting living spaces there if you want to stay cool all year round or during summer specifically.

On the other hand, north-facing rooms stay cool even during summer as they get shade from other buildings or trees in the area or even from mountains if they are close enough. With that in mind, try to place bedrooms in north-facing rooms as it will help you stay cool during hot days and nights.

The Landscape

The next thing we want to talk about is the landscape. In the desert, there are no trees or plants. Thus, you can forget about having a gorgeous garden. Instead, go for a minimalistic landscape. Use plants that don’t require much watering and can survive extremely hot temperatures.

It may come as a surprise to you, but a desert contains a wealth of floral and plant life. And let’s not forget about regional stones and artifacts that can make any garden look astonishing.

Another benefit of desert landscapes is that they don’t require practically any maintenance. Forget about spending hours replanting, trimming, or watering your plants. Instead, spend your time relaxing with a book and drink.

Moreover, you can consider building a pool. Sure, it is a considerable investment, but there is no better way to keep yourself cool during the day. And if you can’t afford to build a pool, think about any form of water features, like a pond or fountain.

And to make your outdoor space more lively and take advantage of hot weather, we recommend building a summer-kitchen with a stone or adobe-faced grill surrounded by canvas lounges and chairs.

Two Types of Desert Home Architecture

There are two types of desert home architecture which are:

  • Traditional desert home architecture
  • Modern desert architecture

Traditional desert home architecture is all about creating a space that will fit in perfectly with the surrounding environment. Its main goal is to blend in and look natural and organic. This type of desert house often means giving up comfort in exchange for the feeling of belonging to the area. It is all about being one with nature.

On the other hand, modern desert home architecture is about using new designs and technologies that will allow you to create a cool and comfortable space in the middle of searing heat. It can be described as a compromise between comfort and blending in with the environment. It is a way to have the best of both worlds without sacrificing anything.

The choice is yours - whether you want to live with nature, against it, or to have everything at once. Just remember that the second type of desert home architecture requires more effort to make it look natural and requires more knowledge on how to design it correctly.

Designing Your Dream Desert Home

Now that you know the basics and pros and cons of desert architecture let’s take a look at tips and tricks you can use when designing your dream desert house. There are many things you can add to your home to boost its comfort and looks. Here are some examples of how to do that:

Use thick walls: they work as a natural and effective insulation that will keep your house cool, especially when you use materials like soil.

Build around courtyards: they usually contain fountains, ponds, and plants, helping you cool the building during the day. You can also consider pairing your interior garden with a net-screen on top to mitigate sunlight.

Embrace solar energy: deserts are fantastic spots to use solar energy, and installing them on your property is a great way to become more sustainable. And don’t worry about efficiency - the panels would receive direct sunlight most of the time.

Build underground: of course, by building underground, we don’t mean placing your house entirely under the ground. However, making it semi-buried is an excellent way to ensure your home stays cool during the day.

Interior design: don’t forget about your living space. To make it stylish and comfortable, we recommend using materials such as granite or marble. These will keep inside cool and comfortable to clean.

Final Thoughts

Designing a desert home is an exciting venture. You can have a lot of fun creating your dream house. However, as you can see, it also requires much thought and planning compared to designing a traditional home.

The first thing to consider is, of course, the climate. Deserts aren’t the most pleasant places for people to live in. They also affect the overall design, cooling and energy solutions, materials, orientation, and landscape.

However, when designed right, a desert home is a truly unique place to spend your life. Sure, at first glance living in a desert doesn’t seem too encouraging. With the right house, though, it can be a true paradise.

That’s why when designing a desert home, make sure you consider all pros and cons. Think about our tips, and build yourself a perfect house. Good luck!

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