Miller Hull

Safari Drive Condominiums

Scottsdale, AZ
Reinventing the suburban multi-family residential form
Client The Wolff Company
Size 325,000 SF
Completion 2008


The design concept for these suburban condominiums evolved from the desire to create a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood in a physically demanding desert climate. Within its own bounds, the development is self-sustaining with a range of live/work lofts and retail spaces situated on the Scottsdale canal. As opposed to typical large-scale residential buildings, grouping of smaller structures not usually seen in this type of development modulates scale to a human level.

In addition to establishing a neighborhood ‘feel’, this varied plan better offsets the climate by creating a micro-climate within shaded courtyards formed by the clustered housing blocks. The range of sustainable strategies tempering the harsh Sonoran Desert climate include use of thermal mass, deep overhangs, a high-performance thermal envelope, naturally-weathering locally-manufactured materials and a high-efficiency central plant hydronic system. A “cool tower” provides passively cooled air to a public courtyard by employing a simple, traditional technology based on towers prevalent throughout middle-eastern desert regions: prevailing winds and evaporative process combine to deliver 75 degree air on a 115 degree summer day.

The deliberate blending of disparate activities and organizing principles reinvents the suburban multi-family residential form. The development has been certified by the City of Scottsdale’s Green Building Program for Multi-Family Dwellings.