Boulder, CO - 2013
Up until a few years ago, this 4.5-acre property located in a rocky canyon five miles above Boulder, Colorado, was a dense forest of pine and fir trees. But on Labor Day, 2010, the Four Mile Canyon fire scorched this property, and burned 169 homes in the area. Overnight, more than 6,000 acres of surrounding forest was converted into an ashen, lunar landscape.
But the rains came the following spring and grasses returned with brilliance. What were forests were now meadows with granite outcrops and expansive views of the prairie stretching eastward from the Rocky Mountains. But the landscape was not new at all – it was a return to a century before, when forest fires burned unchecked creating vistas of meadows interspersed with trees.
The Sunshine Canyon House rediscovers Colorado’s original landscape and, in the process, creates an architectural language based on the area’s rich history of mining and agriculture. While the home’s gabled roof form and rustic materials recall the area’s early building vernacular, the design seeks to establish a language of its own―reflective of and specific to its current context and geographic location.
Exposed beams, rusted steel cladding, and industrial-size barn doors visually link the home to the community’s rural roots, but principally serve to create a fire- resistant, maintenance-free structure.
A 3.6kW photo-voltaic array produces 100% of the home's electric energy. Closed cell foam insulation, triple pane windows, and rolling barn door shutters keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. An open floor plan allows daylight and breezes to naturally filter through all sides of the home.