2013 Recipient | AIA Housing Awards

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House in the Mountains | Notes of Interest

This 2,850-square-foot guesthouse is nestled in and integrated with its Rocky Mountain site. A high mountain yard connects the guesthouse with the original house, creating a single family gathering place.

The east-west bar of the new structure houses three bedrooms and a garage; living, dining, and kitchen areas are contained in the north-south bar. Roof planes appear as native mountain meadows, making the structure practically invisible from the road above. These green roofs not only provide a super-insulated envelope but also preserve and highlight the original view from the existing house. Continuous clerestory windows wrap around the interior, screening out the road and revealing a spectacular mountain panorama. This clerestory creates a completely daylit space, with lighting necessary only at night.

A massively thick solar wall on the south side separates the less-scenic service side of the building from the main meadow and courtyard. This side of the house is used for parking cars and recreational equipment and for harvesting solar energy. Given the site and climate, as well as the heating needs of a pool, spa, and radiant floor, a solar thermal system was chosen over a photovoltaic array. Solar panels are incorporated in the building façade. Integrated sensors and smart programming capabilities further increase the solar harvest and minimize use of the boiler. The annual energy consumption of the house is 32 percent less than its average counterpart.

A retaining wall, clad in Cor-ten steel and cement board, slices diagonally across the site, capturing one side of the solar courtyard and, on the other, forming a private sunken court adjacent to the main living area. This “hidden” court, open only to the sky above, is sized and oriented to enhance the clerestory views above the main road and to protect the privacy of both the outdoor and indoor space on the downslope side. It features a fire pit and a manually retractable movie screen.

Additional Credit

  • Engineer – Civil: Sopris Engineering LLC
  • Engineer – Geotechnical: HP Geotech
  • Engineer – Mechanical/Sustainability Consultant: IBC Engineering Services, Inc.
  • Engineer – Structural: Robert Silman Associates, P.C.
  • Glazing: Forst Consulting Co., Inc.
  • Interior Design: Insight Environmental Design
  • Land Planning: Joseph Wells Land Planning
  • Lighting: Lux Populi
  • Low Voltage | Mechanical Controls: LEAX Controls

Photo Credit

  • © Steve Mundinger 

House in the Mountains

  • Architect: GLUCK+
  • Location: Colorado

Category One: One and Two Family Custom Residences

Jury Comments

This is a spectacular yet modest intervention of the landscape. The form is analogous to the site tectonics, and it shifts with the shape of the land.

This is a space that unfolds itself and embraces you on all sides.

2013 AIA Housing Awards Jury

  • Kathleen Dorgan, AIA, Chair
  • Dorgan Architecture & Planning
  • Storrs, Connecticut
  • John Isch, AIA
  • RWA Architects, Inc.
  • Cincinnati
  • R. Thomas Jones, AIA
  • California Polytechnic State University
  • San Luis Obispo, California
  • Stephen Sharpe, Hon. AIA
  • Austin, Texas
  • Charles L. Travis, AIA
  • The Housing Studio, P.A.
  • Charlotte

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