A Solar-Powered Guest House in the Rockies

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Enveloped in green, a striking project by Gluck+ harnesses the power of nature with solar power and a grassy roof.

Site and building become one in a dramatic mountain guest house by Peter L. Gluck of New York firm Gluck+ (which just won an AZ Award of Merit for its Tower House in Upstate New York). Two rectangular volumes intersect to form a robust architectural background to a central grassy yard, one of several outdoor living spaces. The east-west spanning volume complements the site’s existing house. To accommodate family and friends, the new building has three bedrooms and a garage, while the long and lean original house, which runs north-south, contains the communal living areas.

In this very sunny region of the Colorado Rockies, the house takes full advantage of the sun with panoramic windows to optimize natural light, and a full wall of solar panels to heat the building, pool and hot tub. The plan gives way to open air living space that extends the living area to two patios, an outdoor fireplace and pool.

Most striking is the simplicity of the green roof with wild local grasses and wildflowers taking over, seamlessly integrating the 265-square-metre building into the surroundings. Barely visible from the road, the house doesn’t obscure views from the land, or from the main house.

The guest house’s dynamic shape confidently juts out of the ground, crafting striking lines against the mountainous skyline. This geometry is mimicked in the wide Corten retaining wall, which separates the solar panels from the sunken courtyard, both integrating and highlighting the concentrated focus on green power.

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