Julio Rodriguez, Cal Poly Pomona

The Palma Retreat is a 1,986 square foot home located in North Palm Springs (5 minutes driving distance) away from the heart of Downtown Palm Springs, CA. With its rich progressive culture and life style, the Palma Retreat is an oasis away from the city that still resonates with the life style of the community. Palm Springs is a desert setting with temperatures ranging from 90 to over 100 degrees.  The nearby mountain pass funnels wind into valley, providing some relief to the city from the heat

This residence takes advantage of the geography two main renewable energies, solar and wind, to create a comfortable living environment.   It is rotated 45 degrees with the public space oriented north to allow maximum natural light to enter the main gathering space.  Photovoltaic solar panels are installed on the main roof to provide power to the building and heat water.  Drought tolerant plants cover the lower roof to reduce heat gain to the private program on the south facing side of the home.  The long roof overhang minimize direct solar gain to the house and provides additional shading to the home.

This retreat exhibits an indoor outdoor relation.  The public spaces feature an open concept plan that creates a richer space experience. All the bedrooms have a beautiful view into the back mountain while the public space looks onto the endless natural open landscape. An open pool is also introduced to act as a cooling pond to the house during the day. The intent of this house is to be part of its environment and its large 15 feet high windows allow the outdoor living space to come into the house enlarging the experience of the public space. The outdoor living space consists of an entertainment living room located right next to the pool with an outdoor kitchen.

Sustainability goes beyond the use of recycled materials.  It is the utilization of local materials, local trades, and careful selection and assembly of materials that allow the structure to gracefully age. The house utilizes sustainable building materials and methods of construction. The building is designed with two structural methods. The public space is designed with a moment frame structure to allow both vertical and horizontal spaces allowing for maximum clear story walls for natural lighting. The private spaces are designed with concrete blocks for thermal insulation. Two poured in place concrete thermal mass walls that are 18 inches thick by 11 feet high unite the public and private spaces.  The lower green roof with spray foam insulation helps reduce the heat gain into the structure.  The higher roof has a concealed steel frame roof with spray foam insulation within the structure with Cool Roof Technology membrane providing additional protection against heat gain.