The Artful Lodgers
An architectural masterpiece designed for avid collectors serves as the backdrop for a world-class display of contemporary art.
By Nora Burba Trulsson | Photography by Robert Reck
When it comes to golf course communities, there are preconceived notions about what a typical house should be: private, high-end and, most of all, conforming to the overall aesthetic of the neighborhood. In a North Scottsdale community known for its diverse range of luxury properties, one contemporary home deviates from the expected.
First of all, there’s the house itself, an architectural tour de force that’s an assemblage of concrete volumes, glass walls and copper-clad surfaces, all tucked into the slope of a desert hill near Pinnacle Peak. Inside, the dwelling feels both powerful—thanks to the bold materials—and airy, with view-grabbing expanses of windows and skylights that fill spaces with soft illumination.
Then there’s the art. An Andy Warhol portrait and an Ed Ruscha painting hang in the entry; a Jeff Koons sculpture stands guard in a room near the kitchen; and a vividly hued, anime-inspired acrylic by Takashi Murakami that’s nearly 10 feet tall stretches some 34 feet down the guest bedroom hallway. And those make up just the tip of the art collection iceberg.
Surprisingly, the homeowners, Kent and Vicki Logan, both retired investment bankers, are not lifelong art collectors. “Ironically, Vicki and I spent most of our adult lives in New York City, the art capital of the world, but we didn’t start collecting until we moved to San Francisco in the 1990s,” explains Kent. A gallery walkabout in the Golden Gate City piqued their interest, leading them to purchase their first piece, a narrative painting by Bay Area artist Mark Stock. They were immediately hooked.
From the start, the couple set parameters for the art they acquired. “We had to like the art and be able to live with it,” says Kent. “We never bought it as an investment or an asset.” Adds Vicki, “Part of our collection focuses on masterworks of the 1960s and ’70s. The other portion is works by today’s artists, who were influenced by the previous generation. Among those, we have many pieces by Chinese, African American, Native American and women artists.”
Their collection grew to the point that they were able to give some 350 works to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and, following a move to Vail, Colorado, 250 pieces to the Denver Art Museum.
When they purchased a lot in Scottsdale with the intention of spending the better part of a year here playing golf, the Logans wanted to live with a big part of their collection in the desert. “It would have been easy to just bring down an architect from San Francisco or New York to build our house here,” says Kent, “but we were looking for someone—an artist, really—who understood the desert’s extreme environment and how we wanted to live with our art.”
A contact at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art suggested Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award-winning architect Eddie Jones, who, along with his entire studio—from desks, computers and drawing equipment to all staff members—was in residence at the museum for several months in one of the galleries as a living, working exhibition on architecture. In an artistic twist, the homeowners and the design phase of their dwelling ended up becoming part of the exhibit.
Prior to sketching out his ideas, Jones toured the site of the Logan’s future home and traveled to Vail to see their art collection—or what Kent laughingly calls “the extent of our addiction.” The architect explains, “We didn’t design the house to accommodate certain artworks in certain places, except for the Murakami piece, which is so large.
“The most significant thing Kent and Vicki told me was that they wanted to build a house for their collection and then live in it—not vice versa.”
—Eddie Jones, architect
Instead, it was more about designing for opportunities to display the art and for different scenarios. However, the most significant thing Kent and Vicki told me was that they wanted to build a house for their collection and then live in it—not vice versa.”
The crux of Jones’ plan for the four-bedroom, 6,800-square-foot home was four galleries with traditional living spaces tucked between. The entry, where the Ruscha and the Warhol hang, is the first gallery, illuminated by a grid of 24 oculus-shaped, hand-plastered skylights that bounce sun rays into the space. Hanging room dividers—drywall squares suspended by wires in ceiling tracks—allow other works by artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Gerhard Richter to be hung on both sides and repositioned if necessary. Another gallery is dark, with no natural illumination. It’s a contemplative space to view not only the Koons sculpture but also works by Chuck Close and Zhang Xiaogang. The space, known as the light gallery, is bright and airy, thanks to its translucent glass ceiling covered with a fabric scrim, which offers even illumination for sculpture by Thomas Schutte. In the hallway where the Murakami piece hangs, pivoting doors that lead to guest bedrooms double as gallery walls and are hung with works by the likes of Fritz Scholder and Anselm Kiefer.
Architect and builder Andy Byrnes, who frequently collaborates with Jones, was tasked with turning the design into a reality, constructing cast-in-place concrete walls to signify the gallery volumes and using standing-seam copper cladding on the exterior walls to signal the living spaces, including the living, dining and kitchen area as well as the upstairs master suite. “There’s a slope to the lot, so the back of the house was slightly bunkered into the hillside,” says Byrnes. “That lets the front of the house, where the living spaces are, have views of the golf course.” Byrnes also helped Jones achieve a modern version of the clay tile roof—a design element that the surrounding community’s design guidelines required. “We took the tiles and crushed them,” he says with a laugh, “then we spread them out on the roof deck like aggregate.”
When it came to the interior details, the Logans and Jones kept the focus on the art and the views, choosing simple materials and furnishings as backdrops. Scored concrete flooring, pale oak custom cabinetry and stainless steel kitchen countertops accentuate the setting. Most of the furniture is custom and built-in, including bedroom furnishings and a concrete dining table that can seat 20, stretching from inside out to the patio, bisected by a large floor-to-ceiling window that creates the illusion of a continuous flow. Colorado-based interior designer Judy Robins, a friend of the homeowners, selected a few key pieces of furniture, including a sleek living room sectional and classic Barcelona chairs.
For Jones, the house has won numerous architectural awards, including the Home of the Year Merit Award from the Arizona chapter of the American Institute of Architects. For the Logans, it has become a place where they can live comfortably with some 200 of their favorite artworks, each hand-selected piece celebrating its surroundings as well as its owners.
“We’ve spent decades reading and learning about art, and we never used an advisor,” says Kent. “People tried to tell us what should be in our collection, but we bought with our eyes, not our ears. We’ve always been honest to our original intention—it’s all about the art we like.”
Architect: Eddie Jones, Jones Studio. Builder: Andy Byrnes, The Construction Zone.
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