Japanese aesthetics and landscape

Sparano + Mooney Architecture’s Wabi-Sabi Residence, located in Emigration Canyon above Salt Lake City, celebrates a unique elevated canyon view and a direct connection to nature. The design reflects the relationships between the mountain, vegetation, and wildlife found on the site. Inspired by the Japanese aesthetic culture of ‘wabi-sabi,’ which values imperfection and transience, the residence embraces simplicity and honesty in its expression.

The home is divided into two cantilevered volumes that hover above the landscape, finished with a blackened stain. The north volume focuses on the private, domestic functions and offers views of the tranquil mountain scenery. The southwest volume houses the more public, active gathering spaces and provides breathtaking views of the natural and urban landscapes.

The exterior features full-height, vertical cedar boards sorted on-site to minimize construction waste. The use of modest materials and a thoughtful approach to design reduce the need for excessive cutting and waste. The interior elements, fixtures, and furnishings are carefully selected to maintain the overall design concept.

The Wabi-Sabi Residence is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification and incorporates sustainable features. The window system allows for natural ventilation, reducing the reliance on mechanical heating and cooling while improving indoor air quality. The vegetated roof blends the home into its surroundings, and the site is landscaped with native and drought-tolerant plants and trees.

Photo Copyright: Matt Winquist

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