Profiles in Excellence with Brent Kendle of Kendle Design Collaborative
Discreetly tucked away among the Sonoran Desert trees in the heart of Scottsdale, AZ is Kendle Design Collaborative, a consortium of architectural modernists whose cutting edge custom residential designs elevate both those who live in the homes and the environment in which the home and its inhabitants live.
Knowing that great architecture is more than just clean lines and the incorporation of clarified materials, Brent Kendle, President of Kendle Design Collaborative and newly recognized 2017 Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award winner, shared with Team DSC® what he defines as the essence of Modern Architecture. To Kendle, Modern Architecture is a direct response to the environment, the homeowner’s lifestyle, and the pursuit of timeless inspiration.
THE DEFINITION OF MODERN
MODERN VS. CONTEMPORARY
In my mind, modern and contemporary architecture are two very different ideologies that people confuse all the time. You can take just about any house and make it contemporary by designing it so the lines and finishes are cleaner and more simplified.
Modern architecture, on the other hand, is not a style. It’s a mindset. It’s not about finishes and it’s not about minimalizing details. It’s about how you approach a problem, the process of how you arrive at the solution, and what factors drive that solution.
ELEMENTS OF NATURE
Modern is a way of thinking about living that is a direct reflection of the environment and the natural elements surrounding it. Therefore, modern architecture is constantly evolving – as the environment changes, so does the design.
The work of Frank Lloyd Wright is an archetype of Modern architecture. His work is what inspired me to follow a career in architecture. When I first saw his work at the age of 10, I just knew I was going to be an architect.
If you look at any Frank Lloyd Wright building, typically you can tell where it is in the world because it’s a response to its location. His projects seem to almost grow out of the ground. Wright’s buildings in Wisconsin don’t look anything like his buildings in Arizona, and you don’t have to see the desert landscape to know that it’s not in Wisconsin.
When you consider Dancing Light, a project we recently completed with Desert Star Construction, you can see by its design that it’s in the desert southwest. There’s nothing about this house that says New York or Idaho. If I were designing a home in New York, it would be totally different as a result of its environment. It would look like and have an expression of New York because there would be different climatic conditions to deal with in New York than in Arizona.
A house in the desert southwest can be designed with an open plan, a lot more glass, and big sliding doors, because we don’t have an issue with the freezing cold. From a modern standpoint, our designs are simply a response to the lifestyle that people want to live in this location, whether they want to be indoor or outdoor.
Back east you’re dealing with the cold, and so we would design a home completely different for that environment. Homes back east need to create, generate, and store heat, so the design of these homes tend to be more compact. In this sense, our work in modern architecture is a celebration of our lifestyle.
DYNAMICS OF MODERN LIVING
Specific to the modern characteristics of this project’s design, we incorporated a giant slider into the Dancing Light design with a pool just outside the great room to enhance the experience when you’re inside the house. When you open the sliding door, the air comes across the water, creating a cross breeze. Not only is the architecture physically cooling your experience inside the home, but you’re also looking at water, which causes you to psychologically feel cooler.
We designed another residence in this similar fashion called Desert Wing. For this home, we created a negative edge where the water actually falls down to a lower level, so you hear the water. With this single pool, we’ve taken care of three senses to help you feel cooler: you see the pool, you hear it, and then we’ve cooled the air with the cross breeze. The pool is actually doing a job, not only just fulfilling a stylistic choice.
SERVING A PURPOSE
In my opinion, this is an example of how modern architecture creates the most value for your home. Every design choice serves a purpose. Details are not just embellishments or ornaments that look good. Every single element in the home creates value of the structure that is reflective of the environment and the lifestyle within that structure. It’s almost a cyclical ecosystem where everything benefits the other.
TO THE MOON AND BEYOND
Another important facet of modern architecture is that it’s technology-driven. We’re able to innovate in our designs with the computer and figure out new solutions that we couldn’t before.
When I look at the Walt Disney Concert Hall that Frank Gehry completed in Los Angeles in 2003, I ask, “How could an architect in their right mind even design something that complicated and hard to do?” But as a result of the technology that was used to design that building, there are hundreds of new projects around the world that are possible today. It’s like when we decided to go to the moon – that single act changed the way we leverage technology.
These examples blazed the trail for us to think differently and realize that we can build and design in a way that was previously impossible. We’re not only free to think creatively about how we might design buildings differently, but we are able to innovate new ways to figure out how they can be built.
KENDLE DESIGN COLLABORATIVE AND TEAM DSC®
“My experience partnering with Desert Star Construction is really positive. Jerry Meek is always a champion for doing right. His attitude is to get everyone on the team to rally around the same goals and deliver the best possible project for our clients.
Dancing Light is the most challenging, most complicated home we’ve ever done at Kendle Design Collaborative. As simple as it will look in the end, it’s infinitely more complicated than most homes that exist in Arizona.
Team DSC® was instrumental in the success of this project. On numerous occasions, they traveled to our office to sit down with our designers and make sure every detail fit so they knew exactly what needed to be done when the magic finally lifted off the drawing board and was built on site.
Desert Star’s thorough processes positively affected our ability to create what we envisioned for our client. In that way, it’s obviously a partnership because we were designing and creating, and DSC was there to implement that design and that creation.”