A Corten Steel Mountain Retreat Tames The Rugged Colorado Landscape

Harsh and rugged landscapes aren’t ideal for building family homes on but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to do so. In fact, time and time again architects manage to impress us with the ingenious solutions they find to difficult problems and challenging situations. The Owl Creek residence from Snowmass, Colorado is an inspiration to us all. This is a project developed by Skylab studio in 2015. The residence blends into the landscape in a very special way that has a lot to do with its corten steel exterior shell.

This is an all-weather mountain retreat located in the Snowmass region of ColoradoThis is an all-weather mountain retreat located in the Snowmass region of ColoradoThe residence is shared by two families and includes separate private zones for eachThe residence is shared by two families and includes separate private zones for eachThe exterior of the residence has a corten steel frame which allows it to easily blend into the landscapeThe exterior of the residence has a corten steel frame which allows it to easily blend into the landscapeThe interior is welcoming and cozy right from the entryway, featuring wood-paneled walls and a live-edge benchThe interior is welcoming and cozy right from the entryway, featuring wood-paneled walls and a live-edge bench

Perched on the hillside, the house offers panoramic views of the nearby mountain. Large windows and glazed surfaces open up the rooms and allow natural light to rush in but even with all that the house doesn’t really look exposed from the outside. The protective corten steel shell maintains a contained and intimate look. As far as the interior is concerned, the residence includes a series of lodge-like communal areas all clustered together at the center. A cozy fireplace seating area, an open kitchen with a large bar and several nooks make this residence feel very comfortable and welcoming. This is a shared home for two families so the private spaces are separated into two wings.

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This is one of the cozy seating areas clustered at the center of the house and shared by all inhabitantsThis is one of the cozy seating areas clustered at the center of the house and shared by all inhabitantsThe corten facade ages with time and becomes more and more embedded into the landscapeThe corten facade ages with time and becomes more and more embedded into the landscape
The connection between the house and the rugged landscape surrounding it is a very strong oneThe connection between the house and the rugged landscape surrounding it is a very strong oneWhen seen from a distance, the house looks like a natural part of the environmentWhen seen from a distance, the house looks like a natural part of the environmentThe visual separation between the indoor and outdoor is minimized through a series of transition spacesThe visual separation between the indoor and outdoor is minimized through a series of transition spacesThe interior spaces feel intimate and cozy but at the same time they have an open feelThe interior spaces feel intimate and cozy but at the same time they have an open feelA series of communal areas are clustered together, forming a shared social areaA series of communal areas are clustered together, forming a shared social areaThe array of materials, finishes and colors is reduced to only a few simple ones which bring the house closer to natureThe array of materials, finishes and colors is reduced to only a few simple ones which bring the house closer to natureAs the panoramic views unfold around it, the residence itself becomes a part of the landscapeAs the panoramic views unfold around it, the residence itself becomes a part of the landscapeThe relationship with its immediate surroundings and distant views played a very important role in the overall design of the houseThe relationship with its immediate surroundings and distant views played a very important role in the overall design of the house

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