Yellowstone Residence

Perched at 8,100 feet on the side of a mountain in Montana’s Madison Range, Stuart Silk Architects derived the massing and materials of this house from the powerful landscape.

  • area / size 6,100 sqft
  • Year 2018
  • Type House,
  • The exterior of the house is a composition of Core-ten steel and board-formed concrete, materials which metaphorically and directly embrace the harsh realities of the site and its immediate environment.

    The 6,100-square-foot residence is organized by two, massive eighteen-inch-thick perpendicular board-formed concrete wall which cleaves the house and extends into the landscape to the north and south. Approached alongside the wall, one is led to the entrance, a large, steel, pivot door. The wall continues through the house and extends thru the living room, where it directs the view across a timbered valley directly toward the 9,800 foot summit of Pioneer Mountain and the sky itself. The use of Core-ten helps merge the home with the rocky soil, becoming an outgrowth of its site. A second four-foot-thick concrete wall runs perpendicularly to the first wall and features faceted planes that angle towards a tall, narrow window into the stairway and living room. The facets recall those found in the rocks on the site.

    Entry is at the upper floor of this two-story home. The principal spaces include the fifteen-foot-tall living room which is flanked by two eleven-foot-tall volumes containing the kitchen/dining room to the west and the master bedroom suite to the east. The lower floor holds the entertainment room, three guest suites, and a bunk room. To maintain privacy, the home is nearly opaque on the entry side of the building except for a tall, narrow slot of glass in the faceted concrete and a two-sided projecting corner window that provides views to the north and east from the master bathroom. The two different ceiling heights modulate the composition and are a subliminal reminder of the hierarchical structure of the surrounding mountains.

    The interior palette of materials is minimal and focused on natural materials and finishes. At each level, a cedar, slatted ceiling is supported above the monolithic concrete floor. Structural steel columns are left exposed in the living room. Blackened-steel panels delineate apertures in the thick walls. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls allow unobstructed views of the dramatic alpine landscape and sky, while a continuous band of clerestory windows in the living room allows balanced light to penetrate the home from four sides. Two sculptural-steel elements—the oversized twelve-foot-tall pivot door at the entrance, and a three-quarter-inch thick, twenty-foot-long stair railing—are punctuated with arrays of square, glass-filled holes, reminiscent of stars in the night sky. The railing is supported by rectilinear steel dowels embedded into the concrete stair.

    Design: Stuart Silk Architects
    Design Team: Stuart Silk, Julianne Shaw, Kim Pham
    Photography: Aaron Leitz, Whitney Kamman