Wabi Sabi residence project by SPARANO + MOONEY


SPARANO + MOONEY Architecture’s new residence project Wabi Sabi, located in Emigration Canyon just above Salt Lake City, in Los Angeles celebrates a uniquely elevated canyon view with a rare and direct connection to nature Copy: SPARANO + MOONEY ARCHITECTURE is a leading architecture and design firm with offices in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. The firm was established in 1997 by John Sparano and Anne Mooney and is now under the leadership of the founding partners along with Ludwing Juarez, Nate King and Seth Striefel.

The practice has been consistently recognized for design excellence and has received over 50 design and honour awards since 2000. Sparano + Mooney Architecture was named the 2017 American Institute of Architects Western Mountain Regional Architectural Firm of the Year and the 2013 American Institute of Architects Utah Architectural Firm of the Year. John Sparano, FAIA, has served as the President of the local chapter of the AIA and has won both the Bronze and the Silver medal for his achievements in architectural practice, the highest honours given in the region. John was elevated to a fellowship at the American Institute of Architects in 2015. Anne Mooney, FAIA, LEED AP, serves on the Board of Directors of the AIA and is the co-chair of the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE).

She was named one of the Top Women in Architecture in 2020 by Mountain Living magazine, was awarded the Silver Medal by the AIA Western Mountain Region in 2021, and was elevated to fellowship in 2023. Anne is also a committed educator of the next generation of architects holding an appointment as Professor of Architecture at the University of Utah School of Architecture. Sparano + Mooney Architecture’s work has been featured in national and international press including The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, World Architecture, Architecture + Urbanism, Architectural Digest, Dwell, Aspire Design and Home, Domus, L’Arca, Western Art & Architecture, Utah Style & Design and Mountain Living. The first monograph of the practice, Sparano + Mooney Architecture: A Way of Working, published by Hatje Cantz and with an introduction by Michael Webb, was released in 2022 and is available worldwide.

Their new project Wabi Sabi residence is located in Emigration Canyon just above Salt Lake City, this home designed for a young family celebrates a uniquely elevated canyon view with a rare and direct connection to nature. As a result, the homeowners enjoy framed views of the mountain vista at every turn, with unparalleled indoor/outdoor connections. The home’s dramatic architecture is separated into two volumes that float above the landscape, each of which are finished with a blackened stain in the tradition of wabi-sabi.

The north volume is oriented along an east-west axis, to address the tranquil mountain views to the north, and includes the home’s more private areas. The southwest volume includes the more public, active gathering spaces and is oriented along the canyon axis toward dramatic views of the natural and urban landscapes. Of note inside the home is a large custom mural art piece created by formerly local artist, Dan Christofferson, who now lives in New York. Designed to achieve Gold LEED Certification, the grading for the home has been integrated with the site topography to encourage the existing storm run-off to remain as unchanged as possible. These passive strategies were analyzed and implemented in this home’s design to minimize energy usage and further embed the client in the local climate.

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