Four Abstract Volumes

Palm Desert, California

Somewhere between sculpture and architecture, this work contains four very large abstract forms designed to divide the space into functional living areas. The sculpture was assembled from 550 tons of material specially quarried to preserve the mineral staining of the quarry face. A numbered pre-assembly system was implemented prior to shipment. Many of the photos above, detail the pre-assembly process.

Rhodes’ largest private commission to date, the scale of the work was intended affect both the conscious and subconscious mind, tapping part of the psyche that feels safe within these strong walls; some of the stones measure as large as 13 ½’ in a single direction. The random polygonal pattern rests horizontally extending the feeling of solidity that grounds the viewer.

The pattern is random polygonal and tightly wrought. The chosen stone utilizes the “quarry skin” staining that occurs in the natural seams of the granite. The surface-face of these special stones demonstrates intense vitality and movement. When combined in multitude, the pattern movement and natural surface discoloration create painting-like patterns.

The largest of the four abstract forms measures 60’ long x 22’ tall and penetrates the building envelope at several locations. Several of the cornerstones exceeded 25 tons before they were hollowed out for seismic attachment. Although abstract in nature, the sculpture works to create discrete living spaces under the large undulating roof form that defines the residence architecture.

Combining huge blocks of cubic granite to assemble large-scale three-dimensional architecture is not for the faint of heart, particularly when the residence sits on an active earthquake fault. This requires an exceedingly technical application. The stone attachment system design by Allan Swartz and installed by Butch Dury deserves special praise for what may be the largest-scale polygonal stonework ever attempted in the United States.


Associated Professionals


  • Masonry Contractor
  • Drury Construction