In a remote and rugged setting, this family retreat is designed to merge with the site while capturing views in all directions.
Located on a rural 800-acre property within a nature preserve, this house at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains overlooks the North Fork of the Cache La Poudre River. The site offers spectacular views in every direction, with an abundance of wildlife. The siting of the house in a saddle between two rock formations seeks to nestle in and sit lightly on the land, while still capturing the views down the steep embankment to the river below. A unique rock pillar punctuates the deck at the end of the house, bringing the house into a dialog with the rocky site. The use of laser-scanning and drone videography were utilized in conjunction with Arch11’s 3D design software to finely-calibrate location of the house amongst the rock formations.
The first of several buildings in a multi-generational family retreat, the design seeks to use durable long-lasting materials that blend in with the surroundings. The parti consists of a rusted corten steel box set atop a dark concrete base embedded in the hillside. A deck at the north end of the house is a result of subtractively carving into the corten box, while a plane of corrugated perforated corten screens the deck and exterior stair up to the roof from the sun and prevailing western winds. An expansive roof deck with a solar canopy provides a viewing platform to Rocky Mountain National Park to the west, and the red rock formations and rolling prairie to the east. This roof deck serves to expand the living space, providing a protected area for outdoor sleeping.
The architecture focuses on sustainable materials and construction techniques. The corten cladding recalls the rusty mining shacks and agrarian structures in the vicinity of the site, and will last for generations. The highly-insulated envelope, with judicious use of glazing at key locations, coupled with operable windows and cross-ventilation, diminishes the need for mechanically conditioning the space. A grid-tied solar roof canopy serves to provide shelter from rain and sun on the roof deck, as well as provide most of the power for the house. The use of high-efficiency electrical heat pump mechanical equipment and electric appliances eliminates the need for fossil fuels. The playful interiors strike a balance between honoring the rustic agrarian site without veering into kitsch, and maintain the modern aesthetic of the exterior.