historic Ball-Paylore house

TMTM’s Board of Directors recently approved a proposal to commission Chicago-based miniature artist Michael Yurkovic to create a ½” scale replica of the historic Ball-Paylore House, located in Tucson, Arizona.

The original Ball-Paylore House is a passive solar home designed and built by renowned architect Arthur T. Brown in 1952. It was recently acquired and restored by the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation.

This commission will be an important step toward filling gaps in the museum’s permanent collection. It is an example of mid-century architecture (an area of our collection we would like to expand), done by an established contemporary artist, which highlights a local, historic property AND opens pathways for the museum to develop STEAM programming on the topics of architecture, engineering, and sustainable building.

The miniature is planned to debut with the opening of our fall 2021 featured exhibition; Atomic Miniatures: Michael Yurkovic’s Modern Musings on October 14.

We Need Your Support

Funding for this project is still underway. We need your help to make this a reality and to support the museum in the development of educational programs and resources that will accompany the artifact.

About the Ball-Paylore House

The Ball-Paylore House was designed by architect Arthur T. Brown in 1952 to meet the needs of the two young University of Arizona librarians, Phyllis Ball and Patricia Paylore, who commissioned the project as a refuge in the desert. The small, 1,203 sq. ft., hexagonal-shaped house embraced the trends of American modernism, utilizing a south-facing wall of glass built with movable sun-shades to create an early passive solar system.

From the very start, the Ball-Paylore House was recognized locally as an important work. Between his arrival to the Old Pueblo in 1936 and death in 1993, Arthur T. Brown’s pioneering architectural and environmentally- responsive work shaped the 20th century identity of Tucson. His expressive designs and tailored proportions, that responded to the climate of the Sonoran desert, garnered national attention, and this project was no different­– appearing in many journals, newspapers and magazines.

The Ball-Paylore House was acquired by its second owner in the late 1990s. When she passed away in early 2019, the fate of the property was uncertain. Despite its significance, the house’s unique design, small size, and intact 1950s original features (combined with a lack of preservation protections) made it highly vulnerable to real estate speculation, tear-down, and redevelopment. It was then that the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation contacted the estate.

In October 2019, the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation purchased the Ball-Paylore House and completed a phase I restoration of the property. The project received a 2020 Arizona Governor's Honor Award and was designated a City of Tucson Historic Landmark in October 2020. The property is now available for limited tours and overnight stays. Historic photos: copyright © Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation, Bill Sears Collection.

Saving Tucson's Places

Since March of 1984, the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation has been working to save Tucson's heritage and cultural resources. For over 30 years they have been on the front lines advocating and strategizing to protect the places that make Tucson unique. Throughout the year they offer a variety of programming including lectures, tours, films, and exclusive access to otherwise inaccessible historic properties. They partner with numerous organizations throughout our city and region to help protect our shared past.

Learn more about their important work here:

Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation

About Michael Yurkovic

Michael Yurkovic portrait Michael Yurkovic brings his variety of experience as an Industrial Designer, Toy Inventor, Technical Illustrator, and Machinist to each piece he creates in miniature. He holds the ranking of Artisan in the International Guild of Miniature Artisans. Michael’s works have been featured in The Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the KSB Miniature Collection in Maysville Kentucky. Michael regularly teaches workshops around the United States, including at The Mini Time Machine Museum in Tucson, and will expand his schedule in 2021 to include the Netherlands, London, and Denmark. His latest works are inspired by stories, or narratives, which guide the creation of a new piece, often developing organically with the project. He invites the viewer to connect with the piece, and to fill in the blanks with their own thoughts and interpretations. His guiding mantra is, ‘the closer you look, the better it gets’.

Michael Yurkovic will be recreating the historic Ball-Paylore House in half-inch scale (where half an inch equals 12 inches in life-size), using mixed materials and based on historical photographs, drawings, and site visits. The commission will include both the interior and exterior of the home with a removable roof for optimal views of the interior. The Ball-Paylore Miniature House Project is expected to be complete in the Fall of 2021 and will debut with the museum's fall exhibit, Atomic Miniatures: Michael Yurkovic's Modern Musings, featuring his timeless, miniature mid-century modern designs.

Follow Michael Yurkovic on Facebook or Instagram or visit his website atomicminiature.com

Ways to Support this Project

The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniature is a nonprofit 501(c)3. This a community-funded project, and your support is needed to make it a reality. We are fundraising to match the museum’s designated acquisition funds for the commission and cover the costs of; custom casework, printed educational materials, the production of accompanying audio tour tracks (in English, Spanish, and Audio described), the production of The Making of the Miniature video, and the development of STEAM programs on the topics of architecture, engineering, and sustainable building.

There are many ways you can support the Ball-Paylore Miniature Project. You can use our easy online donation link to make a one-time or even a recurring gift to this fund. As a show of thanks, your support will be recognized in the following manner (each level additionally receives all of the benefits of the preceding levels):

  • Make a donation in any amount and be invited to the opening reception of Atomic Miniatures: Michael Yurkovic’s Modern Musings and the unveiling of the Ball-Paylore Miniature Project. Your name will also be listed among the names of supporters listed on this webpage at the project’s conclusion.
  • Make a donation of $100 or more and receive two free tickets to Ignite Sign Art Museum
  • Make a donation of $500 or more and be entered into a drawing to win a free two-night stay at the Ball-Paylore House.
  • Make a donation of $1,000 or more and be recognized on the citation/plaque on the artifact case.

Exclusive Naming Opportunities

$2,500–  Your Family Portrait (or photo of your choice) stylized and placed in a miniature frame on display on the bookcase in the living room within the miniature. Your generosity and the location of the photo will be mentioned in The Making of the Miniature video that will be on accessible online and with the miniature (at your discretion). Only two available

$5,000 – Your initials, family name, or word of significance inscribed into the concrete on the back patio of the miniature. Your generosity and the location of this inscription will be mentioned in The Making of the Miniature video that will be accessible online and with the miniature (at your discretion). Only one available

See it Come Together

We will be posting updates on this project here.

BPMHP Interview 1 with Michael Yurkovic

The Ball-Paylore Miniature House Project Interview 1 with Michael Yurkovic

March 16, 2021

Executive Director at The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, Lisa Hastreiter-Lamb, interviews Chicago-based miniature artist Michael Yurkovic via Zoom about Phase 1 of the Ball-Paylore Miniature House Project. In their candid conversation they discuss first steps, overcoming challenges, translating…

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Architectural Plans BPH Arthur T Brown

The Ball-Paylore Miniature House Project Phase 1

February 1, 2021

The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures checks in with miniature artist Michael Yurkovic with some questions about Phase 1 of constructing the half-inch scale replica of the Historic Ball-Paylore House. TMTM: You recently stayed at the Ball-Paylore House when…

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Associated Programs

Please check back for programs associated with this project.

Special Thanks

We would like to thank these organizations and individuals for their support of this project.

We would like to thank the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation for their assistance with this project– from providing access to historical archives to site visits.

Since March of 1984, the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation has been working to save Tucson's heritage and cultural resources. Learn more about their work here.