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Independence Pass Residence in Aspen, Colorado by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
April 13th, 2016 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: The American Institute of Architects (AIA)
At the edge of a nature preserve, the Independence Pass Residence has sweeping views across an alpine meadow to the Roaring Fork River and the Rocky Mountains. The house stretches between two knolls, forming a threshold to the views. A series of textured Vals quartzite walls extend into the landscape on either side, giving weight to the lower level. The upper volume is a glass and wood pavilion with a roof that floats on slender stainless steel columns. Its position on the site, linear shape and the use of glass, steel and quartzite gives great strength to this mountain home.
The client purchased an existing home overlooking the Nature Conservancy’s North Star Preserve, a 175-acre tract of open space located in Pitkin County on the Roaring Fork River. Pitkin County manages the preserve as a wildlife corridor and environmental education site. Along with the riparian habitat of the North Fork River, the preserve is home to valuable wetlands and a rare colony of great blue herons. The owners chose the property not only for its unobstructed views of the Rocky Mountains and the preserve, but also for its easy proximity to the town of Aspen, less than 1.5 miles away via a public trail. The site has existing groves of conifers and native aspen to the north, which transition to a south-facing alpine meadow in the preserve.
Conceived as a floating pavilion, the upper level has continuous interior views end to end. Interior windows continue the views through the master bedroom, and clerestory windows both at the perimeter and the interior further extends the sense of lightness and openness by allowing the ceiling to appear to lightly hover over the living spaces.
The interior palette of natural wood, stone and metal combined with a series of soft grey paint colors has a few unexpected moments. The main kitchen is open to the living space and the back wall and cabinet faces are clad in bead blasted stainless steel, which subtly reflects the surroundings and light changing throughout the day. A sleek ledge on the back wall contains lighting, electrical and a custom designed high performance exhaust hood. The kitchen back wall encloses mechanical functions as well as a structural steel lateral x-brace frame. The wall was designed so that parts of the structural frame peek out, exposing their muscular function. A vivid blue color enhances the experience.
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