Elk Range Overlook, Aspen, Colorado. CCY Architects.
“The design team was tasked with creating a spirited yet tranquil private home that connects to the natural surroundings for an active Colorado family. Design objectives included: flexibility to entertain, distinctive spaces to experience, gather, and connect to nature using materials that reflect their mountain lifestyle.
The sloped site presented several challenges and opportunities. Great effort was put into integrating the home into the topography, to connect interior spaces to the outdoor landscape and existing grade while preserving the site’s natural character.
Utilizing the site’s sloping topography, the project orients to expansive mountain views. The arrival sequence begins from an access road above the home exposing ballasted roofs and PV panels. A new entry drive aligned on a mountain peak descends through layered stone and boulder retaining walls set within native landscaping. Upon arrival at the auto court, strong stone elements embedded in the land rest beneath a low-slung floating pavilion roof. This driveway alignment and procession invites views over the home to the Elk Mountain Range beyond, allowing the home to quietly reveal itself within its natural setting.
These strong, quiet single-story stone masses are purposefully placed on the north side to retain the natural grade as the topography falls to the south towards a large open meadow. By carving into the land, these heavy elements anchor the project and create interior volumes on the south side, including a walkout lower level that connects to the grade with terraces and a custom swimming pool. This retaining strategy allows a dynamic approach to the south side of the residence where floating volumes and glazed walls are unified under gently sloping roofs, and ample overhangs with exposed wood rafters and soffits provide protection from the elements while adding warmth to interior and exterior spaces.
Strong building forms, meticulously detailed natural materials, and exposed structure create a rich dialogue with the natural landscape expressing the client’s interests in a robust and distinctly crafted response to the idea of modern architecture in the mountains.
The project’s overall design goals included building energy performance strategies. Active strategies include a roof-mounted 29kw solar photovoltaic and battery storage system providing efficient renewable energy. Passive approaches include glazed walls providing daylighting balanced with dynamic overhangs for seasonal sun control. Sun is blocked during summer months and utilized in colder months heating concrete in the floors and maintaining a warmer interior temperature.
Materials were chosen with an eye for sustainability and wellness. Farm-raised Port Orford Cedar was chosen for its aesthetic qualities, structural characteristics, and high durability. These traits allowed its use in many applications creating a strong, crafted, and warm character. The concept of wellness is strengthened by interconnected water features providing visible and audible tranquility to gathering spaces inside and outside. These water elements flow through the landscape to multiple outdoor terraces set within native aspen trees, further connecting to nature.”
Photo credit: Draper White