Alta Residence

Alta Residence

Alta, Utah

Alta is a place of striking beauty, yet contained in that beauty is the latent threat of severe weather conditions, with hundreds of inches of annual snowfall and corresponding avalanches. As a consequence, buildings must respect both extreme: the serenity of a summer landscape and the challenging winter conditions. The house is positioned at the edge of a rugged stone cliff from which it emerges with a precision-cut stone base transitioning to a sleek if not taut concrete envelope. The simple lines of the concrete act to visually bind and limit the structural envelope. Like a primitive cliff dwelling, the house is closed to the uphill exposure and opens towards views and the sun to the south that coincide with the leeward side of any potential avalanche impact. The stair tower enables light to drift down through the interior of the house, subtly illuminating the suspended staircase contained therein. The centrifugal array of balconies and mudroom imply the tension between the extreme conditions of the site.

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