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The massing was driven primarily by the desire to elevate above surrounding buildings and obstructions to take in views and light from all directions, with minimal square footage for the owner driven program. Once above the ground level, 360 degree views become accessible. The stairwell serves as a light well moving borrowed light between floor plates. The vertical connection provides not only a temporal connection between floors, but also creates the effect of a larger space. The 20’x20’ box shape profile was chosen to take advantage of thermal efficiency (surface to volume ratio) as well as the inherent construction efficiency of standard products based upon the 4’ module.


The project is located in Climate Zone 7 in Steamboat Springs, CO-a cold Rocky Mountain climate. The owner had the desire to preserve an existing deciduous character tree located at the southern terminus of the parcel. This led to the decision to utilize the tree for shading of the southern exposure during the summer months. The naked skeleton of the tree during the winter still allows the warmth from the sun to reach the façade during the harsh winter months. The small footprint also allows an additional garage with an accessory dwelling unit to be placed upon the site. Furthermore, the small footprint strategy allows for a future subdivision of the parcels, each zoned for a primary and secondary dwelling.


An efficient structure was paramount to the owner. The building envelope consists of cavity fill 2×6 framing wrapped in a continuous layer of 3” EPS foam insulation.

The artist-owner valued daylight from all directions, and the best view aspects are to the North. The glass to floor area ratio was high, and large openings to afford the Northern views posed a challenge from an efficiency and comfort standpoint. The small floor plates and large view windows created the effect that close proximity to glass was a constant. Convection currents and cold glass surface temperatures were out of the question. Given these constraints, the choice was made to purchase European triple pane Tilt-turn windows from Intus to minimize heat loss and mitigate comfort issues.

Space heating is accomplished via a high efficiency boiler pushing low temperature heat through the Warmboard in floor distribution system at the upper levels and through a concrete slab at the lower levels. A Spark gas fireplace provides redundancy and an alternative to the main heat system.

The house was air sealed utilizing Siga brand air sealing tape and an ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator) ensures a steady flow of fresh air to the inhabitants.


The overall concept for the project was quality over quantity. Extra storage was worked into numerous corners, which might go underutilized on typical homes. The stair platform down to the studio from the entrance hall houses storage drawers, and the utility closet extends under the stair and provides an opportunity for deep storage of occasional use items.


The building is clad in through colored Cembonit fiber cement board and cedar to ensure minimal maintenance. Perforated panels in lime green serve multiple functions at the exterior. At tall windows that open completely, they serve as both guardrail and shading device. At the deck they serve to minimize undesirable views.

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Workshop L progressive residential design

Office: 737 Lincoln Ave

Steamboat Springs Colorado 80487

Mail: 2771 Ridge Rd

Steamboat Springs Colorado 80487