This second home in Sun Valley is full of surprises, from its humble-to-grand design progression to its myriad custom details. Tucked unassumingly into the hillside, this 6,500-square-foot home’s two west-facing wings launch out of the landscape towards unobstructed, 270-degree views of Bald Mountain, Griffin Butte, and Adams Gulch. The base of the structure is board-formed concrete, while the cantilevered wings are made of steel and glass.
TYPE: Residential › Private House
SIZE: 5000 sqft – 10,000 sqft
PHOTOS: Benjamin Benschneider
“When I first visited this site, the owner and I immediately had the idea for a building that seems to be emerging out of the landscape. The house takes advantage of all the site has to offer: sweeping landscape views, balanced with a sense of being underneath, within. I’m always trying to find the yin and yang of a place. Likewise, the two main sections have windows onto a central courtyard, and the pivot wall opens to face it as well. The idea was to create more intimate moments that would balance the big views.” – Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA.
The outdoors is welcomed in at nearly every turn, with expansive windows and wide-swinging doors that celebrate the interior/exterior connection. A 23-foot-wide pivot door on the steel and glass bridge allows the entire south-facing wall to open, transforming a simple connection between the two wings (main house and guest quarters) into functional space. In the lower level sewing room, “eroding corner” glass doors swing open to an intimate courtyard. The master bath features an indoor/outdoor stone shower with Montana moss rock.
“The clients wanted a modern house that would feel authentic to the high desert mountain landscape. So it is rugged; the client calls the style “mountain industrial.” Everything that touches the earth is stone and board-formed concrete, and everything that projects out is steel and glass.”- Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA.
The cantilevering wings are supported by structural concrete masts that serve double duty as fireplaces. The fireplace supporting the main wing warms the great room above as well as the covered patio below. The upper-level fireplace is open on two sides to maintain the transparency of the space; steel awnings guide its rolling screen.
In the same space, custom casework appears to float against the wall of windows. The casework is actually anchored to the wall several inches above the floor, a subtle nuance that serves to both underscore the buoyancy of the home and retain its openness. Custom hardware and iconic furnishings are found throughout the house. A fourteen-foot-long dining room table — salvaged black walnut on a steel frame and oversized rollers — is designed to divide into two so half can be rolled onto the adjoining deck.
Overhead, a pulley and solid steel counterweight raise two custom light fixtures to further open up the space. At the connecting bridge, the pivoting glass wall is counterbalanced overhead by a large steel weight that sits five feet above the roof; the hand-wheel’s crank is attached to an eight-foot-long screw. In the powder room, the faucet above the welded stainless steel sink basin is connected to a shower valve, creating a simple, one direction operation. The sleek design language is repeated in the shower.
Painted metal shades shield the structure’s windows on the exterior, allowing the homeowners to secure the home when it’s not in use. The shades also contribute to the home’s energy efficiency and provide privacy.
Project Team: Design Principal: Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA; Project Manager: Edward Lalonde; Project Architect: Jamie Slagel; Staff: Chris Gerrick, AIA, LEED AP
General Contractor: Schuchart/Dow
Photographer: Benjamin Benschneider