When New York-based architecture firm Gluck+ was tapped to build a home in the stunning Colorado Rocky Mountains, the architects knew they would be remiss if they didn’t minimize the visual impact of their design. As a result, the firm created House in the Mountains, a green-roofed guesthouse that’s partially buried underground and blends into the landscape. The handsome sunken home also saves on energy use thanks to the earth’s thermal inertia and with solar panels.
The 2,850-square-foot House in the Mountains comprises two rectilinear steel-framed forms that intersect to form the corner of a swimming pool and an implied courtyard that extends to the existing main house. The primary sloped structure rises from to the south at a 20-degree angle and houses the open-plan living, dining, and kitchen spaces and meets the second east-west wing that contains three bedrooms and the garage. The guesthouse’s placement on the site and grassy roofs renders the building practically invisible from the road.
Continuous clerestory glass wraps around the building for panoramic views and to let in copious amounts of natural light. A thick wall of solar panels on the south elevation of the bedroom wing harvests solar energy that powers the heating for the home and the swimming pool. A white oak rain screen clads the exterior of the bedroom wing, while a sunken courtyard to the west features a fireplace built into the Corten steel retaining walls. Corten steel is also used for the roof fascia and the slanted retaining wall to provide a rich rusty red contrast to the vegetated roof.
Images via Gluck+, by Steve Mundinger