Grass Roof Home Is Built Into the Ground for Energy-Conserving Camouflage
There is almost no setting more perfect for a living space than the stunning Colorado Rocky Mountains. When architecture, construction, and development firm GLUCK+ was hired to construct a house in the area, the architects made sure their work integrated harmoniously with the beautiful landscape. Their solution was the House in the Mountains, a green-roofed guesthouse that’s partially buried underground and perfectly blends in with its surroundings. This design decision is also an eco-friendly one—the building conserves energy through ample solar panels and by using the Earth’s thermal inertia to retain heat.
The 2,850 square foot House in the Mountains features outdoor spaces like a swimming pool and a sunken courtyard with a fireplace built into the wall. Solar panels on the south elevation of the bedroom wing efficiently harvests solar energy that heats both the home and the pool.
From the interior, continuous clerestory glass around the building allows for panoramic views and copious natural light to flood to the space. There are two roofs that contain the structure: a primary sloped roof rises from ground level at a 20 degree angle and houses the open-plan living, dining, and kitchen spaces; the second green roof covers the east-west wing that contains three bedrooms and the garage.
The exterior coverings are made from Corten steel, a corrosion-resistant material that helps to eliminate the need for painting. The color of the rusting steel also provides a contrasting red against the vegetated roof. Despite this striking juxtaposition, the guesthouse is almost invisible to viewers from the road as its grassy coverings blend in with its environment.
Besides modern houses, GLUCK+ has worked on a wide range of projects including religious buildings, community centers, hotels, universities, and historic restorations. New York-based GLUCK+ takes the approach of Architect Led Design Build, which means using a single-source responsibility for the design, construction and commissioning of buildings. This allows for the same people to see through an entire building project from concept to result. As they explain, “Our architects are also construction managers, meaning feedback between method of construction and design is fluid and responsive. Priorities between design, cost and schedule are clear. Creativity is responsible.”