Skyline Ranch Residence
- Ward + Blake Architects
The Skyline Ranch residence was commissioned as a replacement for a home built in the late seventies. Site restraints included using the existing drive, removal of no existing mature trees and disturbing as little of the site as possible, while meeting a program that was 1500 Sf more than the house it was replacing. Additionally, the new design was to capture the views of the Grand Teton Range to the North as well as down valley views to the south.
The house is oriented to the cardinal compass points, except for the bedroom wing, which was rotated clockwise 40 degrees to avoid the elimination of several mature Spruce Trees to the east. The entry follows suit by rotating the same to avoid a trio of mature trees, which allows the trees to form a natural barrier to prevailing winds in winter, protecting the front door. The public spaces-kitchen, dining, and living rooms, are oriented perpendicular to the Mountain Range. Patios are created on the north and south side of the kitchen by utilizing a flat roof over the garage. Private spaces-offices and bedrooms were opened to the South and take in views distinctively different from each other. The tapering hall leading to the bedrooms is animated with small vertical windows by using the play of light against vignettes to the landscape.
Dual sets of stairs are detailed so that southern light could be induced to penetrate deep into the house using transparent stair risers that face south. In the lower level, light is brought in with a conventional south facing window shining onto a horizontal glass floor below the stair. The use of glass for the walls of the sauna and exercise room, treat typically opaque rooms to a fine level of natural light that is also encouraged to penetrate deep into the multi-purpose space.
At the top of the easternmost run of stairs is an office with 270-degree views that transition from the lowland southern points, to the Teton Range and beyond. This best of all worlds view is captured using expansive tilt-turn windows. The foreground of these viewsheds are created by the use of sod roofs planted with native grasses that bring the ground plane up to the office level and produce a dynamic quality due to the changing color of the plants as they age seasonally.