A Modern House Accentuates a Sensational Wyoming Landscape
Set amidst a dramatic landscape at the crest of the Gros Ventre Butte, the couple acquired the sloped plot many years ago, but decided to wait until retirement before approaching Bohlin Cywinski Jackson to design and build their long-awaited forever abode.
In deference to the spectacular landscape, the architects have let the site shape the architectural design, which adopts a modern appearance in an intentional departure from the rustic mountain vernacular.
To protect panoramic views of the Teton Mountain Range beyond and reduce the 9,860-square-foot home’s visual footprint, the architects have inserted the two-story building into the hillside and further softened its appearance with planted roofs.
The home is accessed via a private road that gently moves westward through a sagebrush meadow and an aspen tree grove that transitions to an entry court framed by dense, smooth-formed concrete walls.
The drama of the landscape is immediately captured in the interior, where a strong axial layout and full-height glazing reinforce views and blur the boundary between indoors and out.
Starting from the front door in the east, the first axis passes through a sky-lit space between two concrete fireplaces and culminates to a cantilevered glazed study with breathtaking western views of the valley.
The second axis—which runs north-south in parallel to the slope of the butte topography—is first articulated in the south with a linear pool of water that runs alongside the building. It is translated into a textural layer of stone flooring inside the home, then transitioned to a floating staircase leading to the lower level. It finally finishes outdoors in the same stone flooring, on axis with the peaks of the Grand Tetons.
The Jackson Residence was envisioned not only as a forever home, but also as a home that would live on in the family for generations. To meet the clients’ desires for a minimal maintenance home, the architects wrapped the facade in a combination of cast-in-place concrete, Western Red Cedar siding and zinc panels—durable materials that age well and protect the home against extreme seasonal weather.
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Embedded into the slope, the earth-sheltered home uses the ground as an insulating blanket. Heat loss is further minimized with the native-grass green roof, continuous exterior insulation, thermally-broken aluminum windows, and high-performance glazing. Solar panels can also be easily integrated in the future.
To design Jackson Residence for accessibility, the architects have placed the primary living spaces and the master bedroom suite on the main floor, while tucking the two guest bedrooms, a secondary office, and the secondary family room on the lower level. An elevator has also been installed to accommodate possible future mobility challenges.
The property also includes a 780-square-foot guesthouse.
"The intention was to make a dream-like place that is rooted in its extraordinary setting," explains Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.
"Our clients tell us it is impossible to capture through photographs the experience of living in the house. It has given them a heightened awareness of the wildness of the Teton landscape and the ever-changing qualities of light throughout the day."