BIG SKY, MT
The client’s interest in refined modern design and the rustic architectural context (and guidelines) of the Yellowstone Club provided the initial creative tension that Acanthus used to generate this novel vernacular design vocabulary. The house is clean and modern in spirit and details. The components are traditional agrarian forms and materials, including simple gable and shed roofs, a stone base, timbers, and weathered wood board siding.
The house is nestled in dense forest well below and unseen from the road. The most dramatic views are up the valley to the West, so the long axis of the house was set perpendicular to the slope. This provides all primary rooms with a western vista and elevates the terraces at the south end well above grade and obstructing vegetation.
The entrance on the east side of the house is across a “moat” on bridges from the motor court or garage. To take full advantage of views and light, there is expansive use of glass on the west elevation that is carefully integrated into the design through a pronounced articulation of the timber frame. A study with wood stove and balcony on the third floor provides a peaceful retreat with panoramic views and also serves as a home office. A terrace with a fire pit off the living room and a lower terrace with a spa allow the owners to enjoy both the mountain vistas in daylight and the stars that fill the “big sky” at night.
This residence will be the firm’s first LEED-certified project and is expected to earn a silver rating. In addition to responsible material selections and advanced insulation, the house is heated by geothermal heat pumps, which are fed by 8 ft. x 300 ft. wells and powered by the photovoltaic panels integrated into the west porch shed roof. When unoccupied, even in winter, the house produces more energy than it consumes and returns the excess to the grid.Credits General Contractor: On-Site Management Interior Design: Urling Searle Landscape Architect: William S. Pond Structural Engineer: Hicks Engineering Mechanical Engineer: Three Rivers Engineering Civil Engineer: C&H Engineering & Surveyors Cabinetry: Mountain High Woodworks Lighting Design: Light Defines Form Photography: Roger Wade Studios