Ball Paylore Blue Prints
historic Ball-Paylore house

Introducing the Ball-Paylore Miniature House–  a half-inch, 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.

Chicago-based miniaturist Michael Yurkovic was commissioned to create this replica for The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures as 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.

This miniature debuted on October 14, 2021 with the opening of our Fall 2021 featured exhibition; Atomic Miniatures: Michael Yurkovic’s Modern Musings.

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 The Ball-Paylore Miniature House

Ball Paylore Miniature House Photo with Ruler

This miniature replica of the historic Ball-Paylore house was created in 1:24 scale, also expressed as half-inch scale, where half of an inch in miniature equals one foot of the actual building. Chicago-based IGMA Artisan Michael Yurkovic was selected for the project due to his reputation for quality miniatures and affinity for the mid-century modern era. The miniature is created from mixed materials including styrene, wood, and metal. The paint and finishes were customized to match the original palette used in the home and as seen today. Yurkovic uses 3D printing technology extensively in his work to create custom scale-reproductions of real objects. The miniature features a pneumatic armature on a sensor which raises the roof of the miniature house as a visitor approaches for better viewing of the interior. One of the solar shades on the patio was engineered to be operable so viewers can move it and get a sense of its functionality.

Ball-Paylore Miniature House front exterior

Progress Interviews

Throughout the creation of The Ball-Paylore Miniature House, we connected with artist Michael Yurkovic via Zoom to chat about the different stages as the project progressed. You can view these interviews in chronological order below.

Michael Yurkovic Interview 2

The Ball-Paylore Miniature House Project Interview 2 with Michael Yurkovic

April 16, 2021

Executive Director at The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, Lisa Hastreiter-Lamb, interviews Chicago-based miniature artist Michael Yurkovic in his studio via Zoom about progress on the Ball-Paylore Miniature House Project. In this conversation, Michael and Lisa discuss this next…

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BPMHP Interview 3 featured image

The Ball-Paylore Miniature House Project Interview 3 with Michael Yurkovic

May 14, 2021

Executive Director at The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, Lisa Hastreiter-Lamb, interviews Chicago-based miniature artist Michael Yurkovic in his studio via Zoom about progress on the Ball-Paylore Miniature House Project. In this conversation, Lisa and Michael discuss progress on…

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About Michael Yurkovic

Michael Yurkovic TMTM PortraitMichael 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. Yurkovic's work has been featured in The Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the KSB Miniature Collection in Maysville Kentucky, and he regularly teaches workshops around the United States. His latest works are inspired by stories, or narratives, which guide the creation of a new piece, often developing organically with the project. Yurkovic 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 recreated 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 included both the interior and exterior of the home, with a mechanical removable roof for optimal views of the interior. The Ball-Paylore Miniature House was completed in the fall of 2021 and debuted 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

Special Thanks

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

Linda Bengtson, Chad Goebel, Kathleen A. Hanley, Sharon Janssen, Merry S. Lewis, Jan & Craig Littlefield, Long Realty Cares Foundation, Piper Magallanes, Emily & Ted Morrison, Charles & Diana Nathan, Leilani Rothrock, Vicki L. Scott, Anne Y. Snodgrass, and Gentry Spronken.

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.