Colorado House

Off-grid house in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, USA. Completed 2018.

The Colorado House is a private commissioned off grid house in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, USA, completed in fall 2018.

The highlands of Colorado have a harsh climate, long cold winters with heavy snowfall and very hot and sunny summers as well as strong winds are quite common weather conditions. Therefor the house needed to be designed to withstand those conditions without compromising an open view towards the valley.

The location of the house is far from any settlement or city, only accessible through a dirt road and a 4 wheel-drive car. These factors made the construction challenging, it became necessary to use relatively easy to handle materials such as wood which can be transported easily and cut to size on site. Since the building has to withstand the harsh weather conditions, we decided to use a metal cladding which is robust and requires low maintenance.

The house is completely off-grid, electricity is created from photo-voltaic panels, water comes from a well and the toilet is a composting model from Sweden. One of the main challenges of the design was to make the house function in those harsh climate conditions while still provide open views towards the valley. Our approach is to create a simple box with a tilted roof, allowing snow to slide or melt off. The big glass walls which open up to an amazing view into the valley are set back into the volume to use the roof overhang as a shield to reduce the solar heat gain during peak hours. A big veranda is protected by a roof and offers a breathtaking view into the valley.

The entrance to the house is located on the north east corner, facing the road. After entering through a small entrance and technical space, the visitor walks through the kitchen into the central living room. The living room is open and bright with views towards the south, overlooking the valley. The house is designed in a minimalistic and raw manner though still providing basic comforts like a warm shower, full kitchen, a wood burning stove and an odor free toilet.

Facing the south eastern corner, the bedroom is located with a connection to the living room. The bedroom has two big windows framing views into the valley and the neighboring mountains.
A client’s request was to provide an open platform as part of the house which is suitable for meditation as well as lounging in the open space, protected by a roof, overlooking the entire valley and neighboring mountains.

Inside the house, the inhabitants are protected from external views. The house shields of view connections to the neighbours and the road but opening up towards the valley and the open space – providing a sence of privacy with nature.

CO HOUSE_003

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in collaboration with Troy Ostrander

www.opnofc.com

all photos by Philipp Ohnesorge

© PHILIPPOHNESORGE 2019

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