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Rick Joy Architect – Arizona Transplant

Located in the western town of Tucson, Arizona, Rick Joy Architect has made a name associated with excellence over the years. Originally from New England, Rick Joy transplanted to the painted desert of Arizona, which opened an entirely new world for architecture and design inspiration.

Using the peaceful environment of his studio/office, Rick Joy incorporates the rich textures, colors, and materials found in the Sonoran Desert into his designs.
To share with the world his vision of architecture and design, he wrote a book called Rick Joy: Desert Works, which is currently available in paperback form. This book provides readers with a visual tour of nine of his works, each representing the peaceful, natural look and feel of the desert. His designs are functional, but also innovative while still warm and inviting. Within this publication are views of interiors and beautifully detailed photographs of projects completed by Rick Joy Architects.
In addition to his insightful writing, Rick Joy is known for amazing creations that feature architectural elements of the desert. For instance, one of Joy’s projects was the Ventana Canyon House in Tucson, which was completed in 2008. Nestled snuggly in the Arizona foothills, the home was designed to withstand extreme climate consisting of daily temperature swings, drought conditions, and torrential rainstorms. The two, long parallel wings are separated by a circulation spine with the master suite on one end along with the kitchen, dining room, and living room, and a guest bedroom with covered patio taking up the other wing.
While this Rick Joy home is less than 2,000 square feet, considered small with just two bedrooms and two bathrooms, the design is unrivaled. The architecture includes walls up to two feet thick, made from rammed earth and local soil. Special windows were created within the dense walls, providing natural sunlight throughout the living space. In addition to this being an innovative and functional design, it also cuts down on energy consumption. Rick Joy Architects also completed the landscaping as a natural extension of the desert. For his vision and implementation, Rick Joy was awarded the Smithsonian Architecture Design Award in 2004.
Two other masterpieces designed by Rick Joy Architects are the Tyler Residence in Tubac completed in 2001 and the Rubio Avenue Studio in Tucson, finished in 1991. The Tyler Residence is made with light wood framing and concrete retaining walls made to withstand an arid climate while fitting in perfectly with the rural setting high into the Sonoran Desert. The Rubio Avenue Studio features a more contemporary style of glass and rammed earth walls.
However, the Seven Exclusive Desert Pavilions sitting on 40 acres at the Saguaro National Park West is one of the finest projects completed by Rick Jay Architects. Joy’s approach was to create a home that celebrated both indoor and outdoor living. The result is a unique experience of the senses thanks to the artisanship and desert environment. Of all private homes in the Southwest, this is without doubt one of the most intriguing.