Relic Rock Residences
Relic Rock by Optima DCHGlobal Inc., is a prototype for a sustainable, modular, prefabricated architectural building system designed to be adaptable to a range of different climates. The program was based on a sustainable building solution focused on the synergy of architecture, technology and construction methodology in accord with the regional desert environment of the site. The solution was the development of a two-way building system with an elevated floor to leave the natural desert as untouched as possible, recycled cor-ten steel for structural and architectural components, solar panels, and a butt-glazed high performance glass merging the outside environment with the interior of the home.
Relic Rock is designed with a simple, flexible, sustainable prototype building system that is adaptable to a broad range of different climates and terrains. This prototype architectural solution sits lightly on the land, with cantilevered floors that minimize site disruption. A distinctive connection to nature is achieved by dissolving the division of interior and exterior space.
- Relic Rock has been granted the highest level of certification for green building by the nationally recognized City of Scottsdale Green Building Program.
- Optima DCHGlobal, Inc. designs and builds homes using the DCHGlobal Building System, an architectural building system that uses a set of patented components that can be efficiently assembled in different configurations in any location, climate, or terrain.
- Designed to the LEED Platinum level, the DCHGlobal Building System enables the realization of superior efficiencies in design, engineering, and building performance. Each structural, architectural, and building component is optimized for performance and integrate together to form the architecture that is Optima DCHGlobal.
- “This is just fabulous. They made shade in an artful way. The playfulness of the colors on the inside ceiling was so fun within the scheme. This fits well into its site. The way the light plays with the metal is great.” – Jury Comments/AIA Housing Awards
Sustainable building system:
The DCHGlobal Building System is a multi-generational, sustainable architectural system that synchronizes standardization and design flexibility through a set of manufactured structural and architectural components. The system is based on a series of “connectors” that join light gauge beam and column components with tension controlled bolts to create a 3-dimensional structural grid allowing for design flexibility in both vertical and horizontal directions. The standardized structural, architectural, and building components fit together like an erector set and allow for efficient and precise construction in any location, climate, or terrain. The system is pre-engineered for up to two stories and is designed to the LEED Platinum Level.
The building system is defined by its structural and architectural components. Connectors, beams, columns, glazing, exterior screens, roof plates, floor plates, roof fascia, stairs, and handrail all fit together to form a unique architectural system that is adaptable to any location, climate, or terrain.
All structural and architectural components are manufactured out of Cor-Ten Steel, a type of steel with a chemical composition specifically engineered to ensure structural integrity by allowing it to form its own protective layer under the influence of weather. Commonly used on bridges to ensure structural integrity Cor-Ten steel becomes a dark brown / purple color with a smooth finish after sufficiently weathering.
DCHGlobal floor plans embody 21st-century living with free flowing open plans that utilize both interior and exterior space efficiently. A 7’x7′ horizontal module and a 1′-3″ vertical module create a 3-dimensional structural grid that provides the ability for design flexibility in both horizontal and vertical directions. The system is also designed to accommodate a 7′-floor cantilever and a 14′-roof cantilever, providing additional plan flexibility and large roof overhangs for solar and weather protection. The building envelope is comprised of Low-E UV protected glass and can be laminated or insulated. The exterior can be integrated into the building through sliding glass panels and expansive exterior decks. Vertical sunscreens allow for privacy and solar and weather protection, and perforated roof overhangs shade the interior spaces while creating shadows and patterns throughout the house. Interior finishes are selected on a project by project basis and floors can be steel, wood, stone, carpet, or composite panels.
Green Building features: Multi-generational sustainability
- LEED: The DCHGlobal system is designed to the LEED Platinum level.
- Energy Performance: Precise component fabrication and assembly, passive solar devices, solar panels, and energy star appliances allow for efficient energy performance.
- Limited Waste: Standardized components mean limited construction waste in the field.
- Life Cycle: Constructed out of Cor-Ten Steel, a DCHGlobal home has a multi-generational life-cycle.
- 99% Recycled: Cor-Ten is used for all structural and architectural components. Cor-Ten Information
Relic Rock has been granted the highest level of certification for green building by the nationally recognized City of Scottsdale Green Building Program and has received the Honor Award for AIA Chicago, the Honor award for AIA Arizona, The International Green Good Award, and the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture Award.
Optima DCHGlobal Inc:
Relic Rock is the prototype for the DCHGlobal Building System, a flexible and sustainable building system that is adaptable to a broad range of different climates and terrains.
Located on a sloping ridge in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, the site falls in three directions and is bordered by two deep arroyos that flood with water during monsoon season. The building sits lightly on the land, with cantilevered floors that minimize site disruption. A connection to nature is achieved by dissolving the division of interior and exterior space.
Relic Rock’s modular prefabricated architectural system is based on a three dimensional structural grid consisting of a 7’x7′ horizontal module, a 1′-3′ vertical module, and a 21’x21′ structural bay. All structural and building components are designed and standardized to this 3D grid. The exposed structure consists of a simple set of standardized components much like an “erector set” of beams, columns, connectors, and plates that are assembled into components in the shop and sequentially transported to the jobsite for erection. The floor and roof plates are constructed with nine individual 12 gauge press-formed panels bolted together to span the 7’x7′ module. Glazing, fascia, vertical screens, case work, wall panels, plumbing, electrical wiring, ductwork, insulation, stairs, and handrail are all designed in accordance to the 3D grid and integrated into the structure, thereby allowing automated fabrication with precise and efficient construction.
The 1′-3′ vertical module allows the building to step down the site in 2′-6′ increments, creating 10 different “floating” floor planes that leave native boulder formations and natural topography untouched. Utilizing the maximum height allowed by code for adjacent floors to exist without a handrail provides clear definition between functional spaces without walls obstructing views. The 7′ x 7′ horizontal module shapes comfortable hallways, bedrooms, open spaces, and functional spatial transitions. The 2′-6′ “step” allows interior spaces to have an open feel while providing spatial variation of ceiling heights. The use of space enhances the opportunities for furniture, art, and architecture to provide a rich interior experience.
The structural system allows a 7′-floor cantilever and a 14′-roof cantilever inherently providing functional flexibility and large roof overhangs for solar control. Nature is integrated into the building through the structure and the building envelope, comprised completely of Low-E UV protected laminated glass with a heat reflective coating. The glass acts as a canvas for nature’s reflections of both color and texture. Adjustable vertical modular sunscreens create privacy and shading for the interior spaces while filtering light through 3/8″ perforations on 10 gauge press-formed slats. Cantilevered from the perimeter of the roof structure, the Cor-Ten plate is perforated with 1-1/4″ holes creating a moving pattern on the interior and exterior that follows the angle of the sun during the day and the moon light at night.
The entire exposed structure is comprised of Cor-Ten steel, which is a 99% recycled and maintenance-free material. Natural lighting is abundant in every room of Relic Rock; reducing the need for electricity, which is reinforced by a 25-kw photovoltaic system integrated into the roofing system. Through the use of extensive overhangs and modular adjustable vertical sunscreens, the glass is protected from the sun virtually throughout the summer season.
The building uses a water-sourced heat pump HVAC system. By using the large infinite edge of the pool and the courtyard fountain as a “cooling tower”, cool water is sent through a heat exchanger endothermically absorbing the heat generated by the heat pump cooling system. In the winter months, this process is reversed. This design allows the ambient temperature of the pool to passively regulate indoor temperatures in both winter and summer months.
BIM-enabled Integrated Project Delivery through a collaborative developer-architect-contractor team complements the building system and results in efficiencies that are unable to be realized through traditional project delivery methods. Components modeled to exact dimensions by the architect and contractor within the model result in precise fabrication of structural components, glazing components, and architectural components that fit precisely together with zero on-site collisions or rejections. The software complements the simplicity of the building system by providing the integrated project team with precise construction coordination, accurate bidding, 4D scheduling, and construction management methodology.
Project name: Relic Rock Residences
Location: Relic Rock, Scottsdale, Arizona, United States
Coordinates: 33.859997, -111.863921
- Type By Characteristic: Green & Sustainable House, Prefab House
- Type By Site: Desert House
- Type By Size: Large House – (more than 650 sqm)
- Type By Structural: Steel House
Materials: Steel and Cor-ten steel
Building Area: 9,600 GSF (approx 882 sqm)
Completion Year: 2009
Client / Owner / Developer: Optima DCHGlobal Inc
Architects: Optima DCHGlobal Inc – 7157 East Rancho Vista Drive, Suite 109, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, United States
Project Architect: David Hovey Jr., AIA
Contractor: DCH Global Inc.
Text Description: © Courtesy of Optima DCHGlobal Inc, AIA Housing Awards
Images: © Optima DCHGlobal Inc