Cut into a steep slope in Aspen, Colorado, this chevron-shaped home with stunning views of the mountains takes its inspiration from the metal mining structures that are part of the region’s history. For the design of this contemporary vacation retreat, the clusters of simple buildings that distinguished the ore mines are compressed or abstracted into two interlocking wings, each a simple gable-roofed structure. The west wing runs diagonally north-southwest, and the east wing spans east-west. The location of the wings subverts the idea of a perfect chevron: instead of the two wings meeting at a point, the design creates slippage between the wings, so that the west wing extends north beyond the east wing. The resulting “imperfect” chevron pushes the contemporary rigor of the design.
The house reflects the owners’ desire that the house be a place where creative play and the natural world come together and harmonize. In architectural terms, this means the site’s topographical constraints and benefits—steep slope, panoramic views of the Elk Mountain Range, the odd 14-sided building envelope, the winding and wooded creek—drove the creative development of the design. Conversely, the chevron design allows the owners, whether inside the house or outside on the terraces, to engage directly with the beauty of their surroundings. Living spaces (west wing) and master bedroom (east wing) are located on the upper level to take advantage of the views. On the main level, where the two wings overlap, there is a lounge/bar, which opens to a long, three-leveled outdoor terrace.
The house, which is under construction, is approached via a switch-back driveway framed by walls of concrete and a grove of aspen trees. The driveway leads to a motor court and a two-story gabled entrance at the north end of the west wing. Inside, a cantilevered wood stair leads up to the living spaces and master suite, and down to the bar/lounge on the main level, as well as to three guest bedrooms in the west wing, and a bunk bedroom and another guest bedroom in the east wing. The terrace, which connects to the south side of the lounge, has three levels: the upper terrace features a large fireplace for barbecuing; the middle terrace has a fire-pit with built-in seating; the lower terrace a hot tub and long pool, opposite the gym. The garage is located on the east wing’s main level.
The timber-and-steel roof is constructed of custom-milled rafters and beams that allow the roof’s dramatic skeleton to be exposed on the interior side and for integrated LED lighting to bathe the ceiling in a soft glow. SMA worked closely on the roof structure with the structural engineer (KLA), lighting consultant (Tirschwell Lighting Design) and fabricator (Spearhead) using 3D modeling, full-sized mockups, and CNC milling to design and fabricate the components.
The exterior is clad in three materials: dark-stained cedar, standing seamed metal and reclaimed stone. The interior has light- and dark-stained oak paneling. Vertical wood-slat screens are used in interior and exterior spaces to provide an aesthetic connection to the natural setting, as well as to ensure privacy and protection from the elements. At the entrance, Leo Villareal, the American artist, has created a site-specific installation for one of the wood-slat screens, activating it with programmable LED lights.
Cut into a steep slope in Aspen, this mountain retreat with stunning views takes its inspiration from the region’s old metal mines, specifically the clusters of interconnected wood-frame structures that distinguished their often sheer hillside presence. The design compresses and abstracts this clustering motif into two interlocking gable-roofed wings that resemble an “imperfect” chevron.
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