Conceived as a threshold between the city and the mountain park, the massive Syncline House developed by Arch11 near Boulder, Colorado is a modern living retreat. The residence was especially envisioned for an entrepreneurial and professional rock climbing couple who simply wanted a place where they could leave the city behind. Throughout the planning process, the architects had to overcome many challenges related to both the construction site and materials employed. To support an envelope comprised of 50% glazing for example, a structural steel frame was used in place of traditional stick framing throughout the home.

An interplay between openness and privacy dictated the overall design strategy. “The house is a threshold between both the cultural and geologic creases: one between the domestic and the feral, the other between horizontal and vertical.  As the entry opens to the living spaces the apertures transform in scale to reveal the expansive landscape in its entirety. At the southwest corner thirty feet of glass retracts into the walls, dissolving the boundary between the domestic and the wild; the living spaces are then bounded only by the uplifted cliffs beyond. Reciprocally, the native meadow to the west folds onto the garage roof providing easy outdoor access for visiting guests in the house’s guest suite”. The east wall remains closed, allowing only privileged, controlled views and light from the clerestory above. [Photography courtesy of  Arch11]