Surrounded by the Lexus 460 LS Sport’s beautiful design features, I was inspired to visit several unique homes, exhibiting shapes and histories about as far apart as one could get.
At the Alamo exit off I-40 near Yucca, AZ stands a 40-foot diameter homage to failed dreams, fanciful imaginations, and the hope of the future. The private home, looking somewhat like a golf ball atop its tee was once an attraction for a housing development. Okay, in truth, it was a scam and a come-on. Billed as the “Dinosphere” it was to be a restaurant and nightclub for a planned community at Lake Havasu. Never mind that the homes and the golf ball were about 70 miles apart! Failure ensued. Today, surrounded by space travel kitsch, the site includes a tiny convenience store and other-worldly artifacts to support its new name: “Area 66”. The owners do not allow visits inside the dome, but do have plans to include a museum within the interior space.
Far more approachable is the Shipping Container House, located on a quiet street in Flagstaff, AZ. The lofted, 2,000 square foot home was formed by an assemblage of five recycled, ocean-going, 40-foot, high bulk shipping containers. A separate building houses an office, formerly a 20-foot container. The containers received preliminary preparation in Phoenix, trucked to Flagstaff, then lifted into place by cranes and welded together. Forty concrete piers serve as the foundation, and to keep the home three and a half feet above ground level, as the neighborhood is in a designated flood plain.
Owners Marie Jones, a communications designer, and Marvin Glotfelty, a hydrogeologist, said the three most asked questions about the house involve insulation, spaciousness, and cost. According to Marie, “The cost was about the same as if we had built a conventional home of similar design and construction.” Insulation to control both heat and cold (Flagstaff is at 7000 feet elevation and experiences hearty winters and very warm summers) was successfully achieved with a Super Therm Ceramic Coating on the outside and spray foam insulation inside. Most interior walls were finished with conventional dry-wall technique. Designers from Ecosa Design Studio, Prescott, AZ did a masterful job of creating the feeling of space, light, and airiness with their juxtaposition of strategically placed skylights, windows, and atriums.
As we concluded my tour of the home, Marie shared that “Marvin has a 2014 Lexus Hybrid on order” – a fitting testimonial to the way Lexus design fits the aesthetics of owners of the Shipping Container House.