Private House in Colorado
Located in stunning farmland in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, this private residence, made of wood, steel and glass, is laid out mainly on one level, and comprises a collection of different volumes organised along a central axis.
The location of the house within its extraordinary site gradually presented itself during the early stages of the project – an elevated natural clearing on the north side of a vast meadow. From here, unimpeded views of the great valley culminate to the west in the majestic peak of a mountain. In this location, the house leant itself to distribution along an east–west axis, a kind of internal street onto which the different wings of the house connect.
The house structure is inspired by the regional vernacular. It is made of Douglas fir – used not only for all internal and external opaque walls, but also for the visible structure of the ceiling. A 18’’ (46cm) module of visible timber rafters characterises the construction, with large spans being enabled by the steel beams.
The mullions of the stainless steel, glazed facade follow the same 18’’ module as the ceiling and decking, and acts as an almost imperceptible filigree screen which opens the entire house into onto the valley.
All the spaces open onto the 130ft (40m) central axis, some orientated towards the mountainside, but most looking over the valley. A variety of changing vistas are offered along this axis, sweeping views out over the landscape, as well as more inward, contained glimpses of patios and internal gardens. In the middle of the house this long connecting space swells to accommodate the main living area. It is from this area that the only two upper-level rooms are accessed: two volumes with sloping roofs opening towards the mountainside.
This cluster of elements, topped by red metal roofs and sitting on generous expanses of timber decking, give the impression of something that has floated down quite naturally and settled in a clearing of aspens on the hillside.
The house was completed in 2011.
Renzo Piano Building Workshop, architects
in collaboration with Harry Teague Architects, Inc. (Basalt, Colorado)
Design Team: G.Bianchi (partner in charge), S.Doerflinger, V.Laffineur, T.Sahlmann, C.Trentesaux; O.Aubert, C.Colson, Y.Kyrkos (models)
Consultants: Robert Silman Associates (structure); Beaudin Ganze (services); Front (facades consultant); Fisher Marantz Stone (lighting); Schmueser Gordon Meyer (civil engineering); Deborah Nevins & Associates (landscaping); Design Realization (interiors)