Northern Slope Sanctuary | Salida, Colorado
This peaceful home is anchored to a mountainside overlooking the Arkansas Valley, and facing the Collegiate Peaks Range. The structure presents a low profile by stepping up the pitch of the mountain with four different levels, while an angled roof, reaching towards the winter sun, compensates for the limited sun exposure of the northern slope.
Throughout the design and building process, green techniques were incorporated to maximize the home’s energy efficiency and minimize its environmental impact:
- The foundation was constructed using a foam concrete form system, and a 3” concrete slab was poured at all levels to provide solar heat storage.
- The geothermal heating system provides heat through in-floor hydronic tubing, embedded in the 3” concrete slabs. The home also contains a clean-burning Scandinavian wood stove, as well as an electric boiler that serves as backup.
- A 6-kilowatt ground-mounted PV array offsets electrical consumption.
- The roof geometry maximizes southern sun exposure, while large roof overhangs protect the house from the western sun.
- An attached green house allows for year-round vegetable and herb production. Inner windows bring sunlight from the greenhouse to the bathroom, laundry room, and hallway.
The home wraps around a domesticated inner courtyard space, while the raw natural environment pushes in from the exterior. A section of the structure cantilevers over the deep ravine on site. The layout emphasizes bringing the outside in, while providing sanctuary.
The home’s functionality as an inviting social space was also prioritized. A path through the manicured greenery of the courtyard leads guests to the front door. Upon entrance, they are greeted with an expansive view of the Collegiate Peaks Range. The open living area and adjoining deck provide a calm and centered atmosphere for the homeowner to host workshops and gatherings.