McNeal 020 is a pavilion located in the Southern Arizona desert, near the Mexican border. The architecture dialogues with the surrounding landscape and the vastness of the desert.

The geometry consists of an inverted pyramid, digging into the ground, and closed in the middle by a square construction. At the top of the pyramid are four lines of various lengths, extending from the roof, flattened onto the ground. A bench is located inside the central space, facing the door and the light shining through. All the elements are made in reinforced concrete, cast- in-place.

The underground structure gradually appears as you walk toward it. Entering the site through the gate located on the East side, one notices the concrete lines and follows them to see a breach with the stairs and the central space where you can enter to sit and wait, while the light, coming inside at the end of the day, stretches from the floor to the corners of the walls. Inversely, while climbing up the stairs, one discovers progressively the desert and experiences the view of the ground at the same level as the gaze.

Despite its apparent simplicity, the structure tends to express, almost in a primitive way, the contrast between the nature that gradually disappears down the stairs where one is surrounded by concrete marked by rays of light, and the view of nature that reappears in its vastness, the reddish ground, and the mountains in the far end. While walking upon the bridges attached to the roof, one senses the verticality of one’s own body and its fragility with the fear of falling down.

David Telerman
McNeal, Arizona, USA
225 m2 (2421 ft2)
Completion 2020
Structural Engineering:
PureBuild, Inc
Iwan Baan