AW worked in close collaboration with architect Karen Swett on all phases of the design and construction of this project.
The essence of this design lies in the relationship between a conventional house program and an extraordinary mountain site. The house sits 10,000 feet above sea level on the steep slope of the San Juan Mountains. The project explores ways to engage the beauty of the site and to provide relief from an intense, high desert climate that is taxing on both people and buildings. The materials chosen for this project — local limestone, recycled red copper, weathering steel, and reclaimed woods — are sustainable, durable, and low maintenance.
An entry courtyard at the building site’s center provides the initial focus to the house. Its landscape is geometric and formal, in contrast to the rugged, expansive, mountain topography. Massive stone walls originating here run through the house and provide a datum for its internal organization. These walls give the home scale, anchor it to the site, and serve as a tactile contrast to the rugged mountain backdrop.