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Location: Paradise Valley, Ariz.
The Skinny: American Institute of Architects gold medalist Steven Holl may be best known for large scale institutional designs such as MIT's acclaimed Simmons Hall and the forthcoming Kennedy Center expansion, but the architect and watercolorist has also put brush to paper to design residential structures, including the Planar House in Paradise Valley, Ariz. The one-bedroom, three-bath home near Camelback Mountain was conceived as a combination residence and private art gallery, with the placement of the windows and interior walls designed to showcase the owner's collection. While the home is über-utilitarian by design, it's not all concrete and glass: inside, bamboo kitchen cabinets and a Port Orford cedar master bathroom add a welcome touch of the organic. Outside: a private courtyard with 40-foot lap pool, a cactus (cacti?) garden, and a rooftop sculpture garden with desert and mountain views. If your own private art collection isn't quite large enough to fill the 3,000-square-foot interior, don't worry—the listing assures us that one bedroom can easily become three. The home, which won the 2006 AIA NY Merit Design Award, asks $2.4 M.