Set amongst towering cacti in five acres of the Arizona desert are three mysterious cubes constructed of rusted steel. Is it a house? A cabin? A nature reserve? “It’s really a piece of art,” says Rick Joy, the architect of these sculptures in the wild.

Indeed, The Desert Nomad House as it now known, was conceived as a weekend residence for a San Francisco-based art collector. In keeping with the client’s minimal requirements, each building is basically one space with a bathroom that function as a living/kitchen/dining room, a master bedroom and an office/guest room. In large, medium and small cubes respectively, the total footprint is under 1,500-square-foot.

Though it might be small there is nothing back to basics about Joy’s structures. The celebrated architect’s studio builds all his smaller projects in house and as such The Desert Nomad House is constructed to exalting levels of quality. Each box is finished with maple floors, maple-veneer panelling and one entire wall of half-inch-thick glass. Carefully positioned so that each cube looks towards a unique panorama, it is the cinematic views of the desert and of downtown Tuscan that define this home.

First built in 2005, The Desert Nomad House might be described as being ahead of its time. Yet it now encapsulates 2013’s trend towards contemporary cabin living inspired by Le Corbusier (the footprint recalls his ‘cabane’) and Mies van der Rohe (who pioneered glass box houses). Recently offered for sale by architecture specialist realtor Crosby Doe, the village-like compound in the desert sold immediately to one of the modern buyers of weekend homes who simply requires a small residence set in a large expanse of nature with just a pinch of spectacular architecture.