This single family residence of 2,500 SF, located in Emigration Canyon above Salt Lake City, Utah, was designed to capture expansive canyon views of its site and opens to the canyon with a 30-foot operable wall, transforming the living space into an outdoor room. The rugged materials of the house reference the landscape of the American West. The craftsperson is integral to the construction as evidenced in the complex skin comprised of site-assembled interlocking corten steel panels in a harlequin pattern. This textural surface skins the three solid sides of the house and was selected to amplify the non-static quality of domestic life, as it is transforms from a metallic steel to a mottled deep rust color. This matelassé steel is combined with glass and a board-formed wood textured concrete for a contextual, low-maintenance contemporary material palette.
The house creates an open-ended domestic frame that can be transformed by its inhabitants. Its exterior is a magnetic surface, onto which personalized attachments can be placed. Theatrical references inspired the opening of the glazed wall to serve as a stage for the playing out of domestic life. A fabric system – with both interior and exterior curtain – opens and closes the aperture.
The house also serves as a laboratory for sustainable design in the region. Its relatively small footprint was built at the minimum allowed and required minimal site disturbance and a balance of cut and fill. The rainwater collection system captures runoff and is used to irrigate the drought-tolerant, native landscape. The cladding is of recycled steel, and each space in the house is day-lit through either glazed surfaces or skylights. Virtually no electrical loads are required for lighting during the day and natural ventilation can be utilized much of the year bringing canyon breezes into the home. Toilets are dual-flush and the concrete floors are radiantly heated. The home was LEED-H certified by the USGBC at the Silver level, the first home in the state to achieve this certification. The house has won state and regional AIA design awards and has been featured in numerous national and international publications.