Efficiency Lab for Architectural Designs Telluride Glass House

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Efficiency Lab for Architecture is an American studio based in Brooklyn, which this year completed the construction of a luxurious mansion on the steep walls of Telluride Box Canyon in Colorado. The house is surrounded by aspens – namely Populus tremula – and has the distinction of having been built in just a few weeks. However, to be able to create the luxurious residence, characterized by simple and minimal characteristics and located in a geographically and geologically difficult environment like that of the canyon, it was necessary to invest five long years in the design phase. As Aybars Asci, president and founder of Efficiency Lab, explains about the philosophy with which the project was developed: “I had the idea to create something breathtaking in just a few weeks, but it took years of painstaking refinements to bring the vision to life, while the overall concept was pretty straightforward, the project was a reminder that sometimes complexity is the way. to achieve such levels of simplicity ”.

Structurally, the house is configured as a series of three single-height square plan volumes placed one above the other, carefully following and optimizing the offset of the contour curves. As the architects describe in a press release: “Each 45 ′ × 45 ′ glass box is positioned in a moment of suspension, providing a horizontal approach to the vertical terrain.” The Telluride House is characterized not only by its unique shape, but also by the fact that each exposed side of the three volumes is covered with glass, thus opening wide panoramic views of the Colorado landscape to its inhabitants. On land that covers nearly 1.5 hectares, Efficiency Lab has in fact obtained nearly 650 square meters of floor space, while paying particular attention to optimizing the ecological and environmental footprint. In fact, even the exterior colors of the house have been carefully considered in tones similar to those of the surrounding landscape.

Upon entering the Telluride House, the environment is characterized by flat northern cedar ceilings, designed with recessed lighting, with the specific purpose of eliminating anything blocking the view towards the canyon’s nature. The floor extends seamlessly between the interior and the terraces of the second and third floors, interrupted only by the windows, where the structural elements have been reduced to a minimum, once again to ensure that the inhabitants of the house can enjoy the panoramic and breathtaking views offered by the area. Sitting over 2,700 meters above sea level, insulating the windows proved to be a challenge, in turn solved through the insertion of capillary tubes to mitigate the air pressure differences between the site manufacturing of insulating glass and the high altitude of the house.

The three-level layout offers a separation between privacy and common areas. The entrance to the house is on the ground floor, where there is a first hallway and a stone living room adjoining the garage, guest bedrooms and a games room. Going up to the intermediate level, a large open space accommodates all the common areas of the Maison de Verre including the kitchen, a large living room and a dining room. Finally, the upper level is reserved for the three bedrooms. To conclude, in the words of architect Aybars Asci: “There is a kind of symbiotic relationship, where the overhangs create a delicate connection between the light-footed house and the majestic mountain. From my first visit to the site, I knew that this project would require determination and clarity and that it would build on everything I have come to know and feel like an architect.

Francesco cibati

Location: Telluride Box Canyon, Colorado, USA
Year: 2021
Constructed area: 650 m2
Plot: 1.37 ha
Design Architect: Efficiency Laboratory for PLLC Architecture www.efficiencylab.org
AOR: Tommy Hein Architects
Interior fittings: Gachot Studios
MEP: Bighorn Consulting Engineers
Civil Engineer: Uncompahgre Engineering
Geo-Hazard Engineer: Trautner Geotech
Landscaping: Caribou Design Associates
General contractor: Finbro Construction
Photo credit: Josh Johnson


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