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Photo © Jane Messinger

Telluride House

Anmahian Winton Architects

Telluride, Colorado

Anmahian Winton Architects' low-profile Telluride House stands up to harsh weather with a palette of hearty materials, from copper to Colorado limestone.

By Laura Raskin

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Sitting almost 10,000 feet above sea level on a steep slope in Telluride, Colorado, a vacation home withstands extreme weather: deep snows and blazing sunshine. Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Anmahian Winton Architects wanted to take advantage of the dramatic site while minimizing the adverse effects of the climate. “A lot of our effort was intended to dig the house in and keep it low profile,” says principal in charge Nick Winton, who collaborated with architect Karen Swett and landscape architect Michael Boucher.

The 8,000-square-foot steel-and-wood-frame structure will eventually become the clients' full-time residence, while serving as a hub for relatives. The architects developed a roughly L-shaped plan with connected rectangular volumes that read as separate pavilions and offer opportunities for privacy.

Colorado buff-limestone walls frame a depressed entry courtyard and provide a perch for the second story. The extended horizontal massing recalls houses by Frank Lloyd Wright, and, as Winton notes, the stone walls echo the scale and mortar detail of those found in old Telluride. On the entry floor, a kitchen and dining room have panoramic views, while the living room looks down the slope. A master suite is set apart from the rest of the house, with a connection on the entry level. Each main room has a relationship to the outdoors, says Winton, and what he calls a “micro-courtyard.”

The other rich, natural materials follow the logic of the limestone walls: They're durable, low maintenance, and textured. Copper and steel plate clad the facade. Oak reclaimed from a barn serves as a fully ventilated rainscreen and a real screen in front of some windows. “The owners were inclined to make high-quality choices about materials and sustainability. And they did,” says Winton.

Completion Date: September 2010

Gross Square Footage: 8,000 square feet

Architect and Designer:
Anmahian Winton Architects
650 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02141
T: (617) 577-7400
F: (617) 577-7420
Karen Swett

January 2013
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