Independence Pass Residence

Architect: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Location: Aspen, Colorado

Overlooking a 175-acre tract of open space, both the views and the design are stunning.

The client purchased an existing home overlooking the Nature Conservancy’s North Star Preserve, a 175-acre tract of open space located in Pitkin County on the Roaring Fork River. Pitkin County manages the preserve as a wildlife corridor and environmental education site. Along with the riparian habitat of the North Fork River, the preserve is home to valuable wetlands and a rare colony of great blue herons. The owners chose the property not only for its unobstructed views of the Rocky Mountains and the preserve, but also for its easy proximity to the town of Aspen, less than 1.5 miles away via a public trail. The site has existing groves of conifers and native aspen to the north, which transition to a south-facing alpine meadow in the preserve.

"Beautiful use of stone and lines to frame views of conservation land." - Jury comment

Conceived as a floating pavilion, the upper level has continuous interior views end to end. Interior windows continue the views through the master bedroom, and clerestory windows both at the perimeter and the interior further extends the sense of lightness and openness by allowing the ceiling to appear to lightly hover over the living spaces.

"A stunning house ... totally attuned to its Aspen setting." - Jury comment

The interior palette of natural wood, stone and metal combined with a series of soft grey paint colors has a few unexpected moments. The main kitchen is open to the living space and the back wall and cabinet faces are clad in bead blasted stainless steel, which subtly reflects the surroundings and light changing throughout the day. A sleek ledge on the back wall contains lighting, electrical and a custom designed high performance exhaust hood. The kitchen back wall encloses mechanical functions as well as a structural steel lateral x-brace frame. The wall was designed so that parts of the structural frame peek out, exposing their muscular function. A vivid blue color enhances the experience.

Additional information

Structural Engineer: PCS Structural Solutions

Civil Engineer: Schmueser Gordon Meyer

M/E/P Engineer: Gordon Prill Drapes, PC

Landscape Architect: Bluegreen

Interior Design: Shelton Mindel & Associates

Lighting Consultant: Fisher Marantz Stone

Acoustical Engineer: The Greenbusch Group, Inc.

Specification Consultant: Specifications Northwest

LEED and Photovoltaic Consultant: Active Energies, Inc.

Custom Fabricator: Company K


2016 AIA Housing Awards Jury

Jamie Blosser, AIA (Chair), Atkin Olshin Schade Architects, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Ariella Cohen, Editor-in-Chief, Next City, Philadelphia

Kevin Harris, FAIA, Kevin Harris Architect, LLC, Baton Rouge

David Lee, FAIA, Stull and Lee, Inc., Roxbury Crossing, Massachusetts

Suman Sorg, FAIA, Sorg & Associates, P.C., Washington, DC

Image credits


Nic Lehoux


Nic Lehoux


Nic Lehoux


Nic Lehoux


Nic Lehoux


Nic Lehoux


Nic Lehoux