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Skylab Architecture designs Owl Creek Ski House in Snowmass, Colorado (USA)

Project name:
Owl Creek Ski House
Architecture firm:
Skylab Architecture
Snowmass, Colorado, USA
Robert Reck, Stephen Miller, Jeremy Bittermann
Principal architect:
Design team:
Jeff Kovel, Design Director. Brent Grubb, Principal / Manager. Nathan Cox, Project Designer. Mark Nye, Project Manager. Joe Bashaw
CTL Thompson Incorporated (Geotechnical and Soils Engineer). Ambient Automation & Performance Electronics (Theatrical/AV). Manchester Architects (Land use entitlements consultant)
Interior design:
Studio Lambiotte, LLC.
Built area:
4200 ft²
Site area:
Design year:
Completion year:
Civil engineer:
Structural engineer:
Mountain Design Group
Environmental & MEP:
Resource Engineering Group and Architectural Engineering Consultants
Lighting Workshop, Inc.
Ben Porto, Josh Ashcroft
Tools used:
Ridge Runner Construction
Wood, stone, and weathering steel
Residential › House

Skylab Architecture: Perched on the hillside, with panoramic views of Snowmass Mountain, the Owl Creek residence was built on the idea that a physical place can deepen the connections between friends, families and the natural world.

The project vision included creating a collection of lodge-like communal spaces surrounded by naturally weathered and local materials providing an abundance of access to natural light, and minimizing visual separation from the outdoors. This 4,500-square-foot, all-weather mountain retreat is about enhancing and recharging social relations and maximizing connections to the native environment.

Site constraints were central to the design response and ultimately informing the spatial concept to triangulate the structure working with the existing sloping terrain. It turned the strict height limitation and slope constraints of the site into an advantage by anchoring the structure into the landforms. The structure frames powerful views through two principal façades, maximizing the visual connection to the landscape at every angle.

Strategic decisions in the frame and form allowed for efficiencies and functional benefits, including a triangular structural steel frame with car decking to minimize costs through prefabrication, and a roof slope to move water and snow downslope. Finishes and interior relationships (featuring a palette with wood, stone, and weathering steel) were carefully crafted to draw the scenic landscape inward and extending the outdoor deck living experience. A central spiraling split-level arrangement allows for the living room, fireplace, bar and lounge to feel like intimate spaces with a communal energy. Terracing theater seating maximizes space within the stairwell working with the topography.

Compact and efficient private sleeping wings open to expansive outdoor views at the lower level. Exterior spaces open interior activity to the outdoors including a triangular spa with an elevated deck and an expansive outdoor terrace right off of the kitchen. The Owl Creek residence provides a platform to gather in a shared living environment connected to their surroundings with purpose, deepening family connections.

By Liliana Alvarez

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