Stone adheres residence to landscape

July 1, 2007
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For the design of a 4,500-square-foot private residence in Vail, CO, Fritzlen Pierce Architects sought to create a home that reflected an intimate relationship to the Gore Creek area surrounding the development, and natural stone was the obvious material selection for carrying out the design.


For the design of a 4,500-square-foot private residence in Vail, CO, Fritzlen Pierce Architects sought to create a home that reflected an intimate relationship with the Gore Creek area surrounding the development, and natural stone was an obvious choice to help accomplish this goal.
“The project was unique, due to its relationship to Gore Creek,” said Principal Architect Bill Pierce of Fritzlen Pierce Architects. “There was an existing triplex on the site located quite close to the creek, much closer than would be allowed by current zoning restrictions. We were able to maintain the proximity as long as we did not add more floor area than was there originally.”
To reflect the surrounding mountainscape, Farmer’s Stone - a rough-cut, textured material - was implemented for exterior elements, as well as interior features throughout the residence. According to Pierce, Telluride Gold was first considered, but the color blend of the Farmer’s Stone was better suited for the location in the end. The various-sized pieces of material, measuring up to 18 x 18 inches, were used for window and door surrounds, and for the perimeter surrounding the garage, as well as for columns and chimneys.
To create a smooth transition, the Farmer’s Stone was also carried indoors where it was used on feature walls, archways and entryways. The material was also implemented for a floor-to-ceiling stone wall that is utilized for a fireplace surround and as an entertainment center in the family room. The opposite side of the stone-clad wall faces the dining room, and the adjacent kitchen space features complementary Juparana Classic Rio countertops. The material was supplied by Granite Imports, Inc. of Denver, CO.
Construction of the home, which lasted for approximately one year, posed exceptional challenges for the architect and the owner. “The original three intra-connected units on the lot had been constructed in the early 1960s by a future Governor of Colorado,” explained a design statement from the firm. “To the owners, the relationship of the home to the stream was the most important factor. They wanted their new home to reflect an intimate relationship to Gore Creek. To be able to keep the new home on the stream and take advantage of site amenities, the residence had to be placed on the original building footprint and on the original foundations.” Weather-related issues also created some minor construction challenges, according to Pierce, and to prevent delays the team set up tents over the jobsite.
According to Pierce, the reaction to the project has been overwhelmingly positive. “The house was sold about a year and a half ago for $1,050 per square foot, twice as much as any other house in the neighborhood sold for prior to that sale,” he said.

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