Located on the western edge of Gros Ventre Butte, the sloping site for this residence offers extraordinary views of the Snake River Valley and the Teton Mountain Range. The owners, a retired couple with grown children, acquired the property many years prior to starting the design process and were interested in a calm, elegant retreat that offered both dramatic and contemplative spaces. A winding road guides visitors to the residence through a sagebrush meadow alongside a grove of delicate aspen trees. The driveway descends along a series of dense concrete walls into a courtyard sheltered by aspens, screening western views over the valley and marking a place of arrival in the vast landscape.
A delicate steel canopy extends from a break in the concrete walls, marking the entrance. The program of the house is experienced as a series of linear bars that parallel the valley. Visitors pass through a wood-lined box that captures views of a tranquil private garden to the south and through the dining room and kitchen to the north. The more intimately scaled spaces at the entry open to a transparent pavilion containing the living room and master suite. An axial view between two massive concrete fireplaces and through the study offers glimpses of the Snake River beyond. A floating stair connects the living area with the lower level, which houses more casual spaces for the family as well as a covered outdoor terrace for entertaining.
The substantial program for the house is thoroughly integrated with the sloping site through the use of planted roofs and natural materials that complement the colors and textures of the native landscape. In a place typically known for more rustic architecture, the crisp volumes and thin roof planes of this residence define a new vernacular.