Perhaps best known for his use of rammed earth in the construction of dwellings, Rick Joy creates modern designs that draw upon a wide palette of materials and techniques and are carefully planned and situated to take full advantage of their extraordinary context. As Joy notes, “The desert is a fantastic place in the most correct meaning of the word; it is at times a dreamlike fantasy of a landscape. . . . The desert’s beauty extends beyond objects and things to an atmosphere of place that is defined by quality of light and other sensory kinds of input.” His architectural practice eschews disciplinary boundaries and is actively involved in the entire building process. Architect Steven Holl, writing in the foreword to Rick Joy: Desert Works (2002, Princeton Architectural Press) noted the benefits of such an approach: “To be directly engaged on the construction site and, in the case of Rick Joy, to build things directly allows a clear link to intuitive imagination. Experimentation with materials and details in orchestration of phenomenal and experimental spatial aims sets this work as the near opposite of empty formalism and banal execution.” With a background in music and carpentry, Joy studied architecture at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and worked in the office of William Bruder on the team for the Phoenix Central Library before establishing his own practice in 1993.