- Farshid Assassi
This residence is a vacation home for a couple and their four young children. Located on a quarter-acre site in a residential development in Copper Mountain, Colorado, the home is comprised of a single-story, post-and-beam pavilion containing the primary living and entertainment spaces, and a four-story, conventionally framed tower containing the service spaces and bedrooms. These elemental volumes are arranged to create two distinct landscape experiences: a sequestered, private environment of indoor and outdoor living spaces sheltered by lodge pole pines and nestled into the wooded site, and an expansive, open experience of Rocky Mountain vistas afforded by the belvedere quality of the tower. This arrangement allows the homeowners to “be in the woods” and “see the mountains” – the two site qualities which initially drew them to this location.
An entry sequence was developed to heighten the experience of the home. Beginning at the entry drive, visitors approach from the southeast; pass through the outer, cast-in-place concrete wall; up a stair parallel to the pavilion; into a covered “porch”; and then into the home. Each step along this path reveals carefully differentiated materiality. The compression experience - from fully exposed mountainside, to the more protected woodland, onto a defined plinth, and into the home’s interior - is graduated as well.
The northeast entry elevation, the only one with abutting development, remains largely solid with clerestory windows and a protective cast-in-place concrete wall. Both Interstate 70 and approaching winter storms lie northwest of the site; the garage and interior circulation are used to buffer this side of the home from both of these environmental factors. The remaining pavilion elevations embrace the wooded surroundings with large glazed openings which blur the distinction between inside and out. The extended roof overhang creates a large covered exterior deck adjacent to an open patio at grade and shades the glass from summer sun. Fenestration on the tower is limited to a single multi-story opening offering the mountainous panorama to each of the three bedrooms. The top of the tower is reserved for a small office and roof deck – rewarding visitors with a remarkable view. This simple organization has the additional pragmatic advantage of allowing the tower to utilize the chimney effect to cool the home in summer months. As a result, the home is radiantly heated, but relies on simple ventilation strategies for cooling.
Photography by Farshid Assassi/Assassi Productions
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