Read The Current Issue
“Bending” this house maximizes views without breaking up the main form.
By Maggie Theodora
“I think it is harder to make a single building than to put buildings here and there and connect them,” says architect Stephen Dynia. A Dynia-designed home in Wilson’s Schofield Patent subdivision rises to this challenge.
People building homes in Jackson Hole often want specific views from specific rooms. Dynia says it is because of this that homes are often “pavilionized” (buildings connected to other buildings). The couple designing and building this home wanted to sit in the living room and see a certain canyon in the foreground and the Grand Teton in the distance. Dynia didn’t want to do pavilions.
“We spent a lot of time bending the house to get the views they wanted,” Dynia says. “I call it a ‘faceted snake.’ It is one building, but you’re looking at different parts of the landscape, and each room has a slightly different relationship to the line of the mountains. Once we decided on a strategy where we could just bend the house where we needed to, the objective was to get the best views from each room and not be limited by orthogonal geometry.”
This snake has three facets. The center one, which is an open kitchen, dining, and living room bookended by his and her offices, is the largest. Since the views from this section are the main ones the couple were interested in, its northern aspect is mostly glass. The offices were put at either end of this section because the husband wanted to see Mt. Glory from his office, while the wife wanted to look at Sleeping Indian. The northern facet is the master bedroom. The master suite was designed so “the bed is directly related to the Grand,” Dynia says. The southern facet has the garage and two guest suites.
“The singular strategy of bending the plan at key locations results in a simplicity rich in its relationship to the landscape, from inside and out.”
[ Stephen Dynia, Dynia Architects ]
Like many homes now being built, this one is very open inside. To create warmth, Dynia designed a floating ceiling that runs the length of the center section, eventually turning down to create a feature wall with a fireplace. “Using wood floors and this wood ceiling we took what is a relatively clean and modern interior and connected it to the rusticity of the landscape,” Dynia says.
To highlight this home’s single move, Dynia designed a prominent roof, which has seven-foot overhangs all the way around, giving it the appearance of floating in space. Approaching the home, it is the roof that grabs your attention. And, “It is the continuity of the roof that holds this house together,” Dynia says. Because of the unity provided by the roof, he was able to use an exterior material palette that includes both stone and reclaimed wind fence without complicating the design. (Using reclaimed wind fence was important to the husband, a native of Wyoming who spent summers as a youth working on highway wind fences.) Wind fence clads the center (main) section, while stone covers the two ends.
In addition to capturing the views the clients wanted, the bending of this home created interesting outdoor spaces. “Where the house creases, there are outdoor spaces where you feel like you’re partially enclosed,” Dynia says. Facing the mountains between the main and north sections is an expansive deck the house partially wraps around. Dynia says, “The singular strategy of bending the plan at key locations results in a simplicity rich in its relationship to the landscape, from inside and out.”