While the site for this house is drop-dead gorgeous, it also happens to be in a mountain valley that records some of the most extreme weather in the nation. Temperatures range from forty below to ninety above. And while the site receives tremendous amounts of snow, it also, paradoxically, enjoys three hundred-plus sunny days a year, which was critical to the clients who make this their full-time residence.
In response to these conditions, the house was designed to employ both passive and active strategies to gather and store solar radiation. Its mass is submerged into the south-facing slope with extensive glazing allowing sunlight to warm the dark stained concrete floors. Translucent acrylic panels cover the garage doors providing extra insulation while filling the garage/workspace with light. As a result, this space requires almost no other heat to stay comfortable. Solar panels on the roof provide domestic hot water and augment the radiant in-floor heat. A Rumford wood-burning fireplace in the massive, centrally located concrete core augments the solar heat with an abundant local renewable resource. LED, fluorescent, and ultra-efficient appliances keep electric consumption to a minimum. Materials were selected for their “green” merits and for their ability to improve and patina with age, rather than require maintenance. Detailing and roof configuration reflect years of experience and careful consideration of the design requirements of deep snow, ice, and intense high-altitude sunlight.
Merit Award, AIA Colorado West, 2008
Crested Butte Magazine, "Going out on a Design Limb," Winter 2007-08