When people think of mountain escapes, it usually brings to mind log cabins tucked deep in the woods, not sleek modern architecture or innovative design. But the latter is what one client got after hiring Stuart Silk Architects to design a home in the Yellowstone Club—a 5,200-acre private residential community set amidst the Rocky Mountains and located just northwest of the national park with the same name. An added challenge was the materiality of the structure: the concrete and steel Stuart planned to employ had never before been used to build a house in the development.
“[Yellowstone’s] guidelines are built around the modern lodge-style home,” says Stuart Silk, founder and principal architect of SSA. “They didn’t want concrete and steel with a flat roof. They wanted a traditional, mountain ‘lodgey’ stuff.” In order to realize his vision, Silk had had to petition the Yellowstone Architectural Review for months in order to build the first concrete-and steel-home in the Yellowstone Club.
Located under Pioneer Mountain, the modern two-story house pays homage to its natural surroundings with details that include a front entrance lined with mismatched rust-colored corten steel panels that resemble the area’s jagged terrain. The stainless steel front door has a matching ribbon handle and glass-filled square holes that allow light to penetrate into the interior. Silk says that the door details also provide richness to the otherwise austere steel panels. The rest of the home is built with warm-toned broad form concrete that matches the yellow dirt and harsh, rocky environment of the mountainous, region.
“The architecture of the house is super modern, but we wanted the materiality of the home to be site-specific,” Silk says. “We used custom-colored concrete to try to get the right color that felt the least foreign to the character and quality to the materials of the natural landscape.”
Spanning the great room in the back of the home, floor-to-ceiling windows reach up to 16 feet high to capture unobstructed views of Pioneer Peak. To connect with the home’s exterior, the great room also has concrete floors and a half-inch-thick blackened stainless steel stair rail. In order to eliminate the echoes from the home’s dense structure, the architects installed insulation behind oak panels to manipulate the acoustics and add warmth to the space.
“We want visitors to be blown away by the spectacular views of Pioneer Peak and the surrounding mountains,” Silk concludes. “It was important that they feel comfortable and protected in this distinctly modern environment—that it would be a place they would arrive at and never want to leave.”