Facade Focus: Steel

Idaho-based architect Susan Desko—previously a senior design architect for Frank Gehry—created a house built of untreated steel plate and glass that towers among the trees of its Ketchum landscape.

raw steel facade of modern house in Idaho
A steel-plate-clad house by architect Susan Desko in Ketchum, Idaho, features an untreated surface that changes color to reflect the sky.
Project 
Vogel House
Architect 

As a bricklayer’s daughter, Susan Desko spent much of her childhood exploring her father’s building sites, which helped inform her improvisational style.

raw steel facade of modern house in Idaho
A bricklayer's daughter, Desko grew up on construction sites. The house garnered the architect a 2005 American Institute of Architects merit award in 2005.
Inspired by a pair of rectangular zinc vases, her very first residential commission began as two chimneys with fireplaces and a kitchen between the two. The house appears in its finished state as a series of forms that evoke minimalist sculpture, including a rectilinear main house, a guesthouse, and a 60-foot-long bridge of raw steel that joins the forms. The intense geometry of the untreated metal changes color with the light of day, while the glass reflects blue sky, clouds, and greenery. Tall logs ornament the facade, lending a textural counterpoint to the smooth coolness of the steel. Desko’s design is at once daring and intuitive—a structure with an edge that seamlessly blends into its natural environment.

raw steel facade of modern house in Idaho
The rectilinear house is comprised of a main house and a guest house connected via a sixty-foot-long bridge.

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