AIA Montana 2008 Design Awards
Architect of Record: Douglas Minarik, AIA, Comma Q Architecture, Inc.
Royal Wulff Residence
(Project Sheet pdf) — The Royal Wulff Residence was designed for a single mother and her two teenage daughters. The desire was to create a small place, that addressed the views, was adaptable for guests, and could exist within the often harsh weather conditions of Paradise Valley. The result is a 3 bedroom house, with a single car garage, an open living/dining/kitchen space, and an incredible series of spaces from which to take in the landscape.
The house is divided into two forms, with a transparent entry connector joining the forms. The two-story volume is intended to tie in the simple farmhouse vernacular that exists throughout the valley. The single-story shed roof volume acts as a wind buffer to prevailing southern winds and helps define an outdoor patio. The entry approach is sheltered from winds as well, and is intended to temporarily remove the views from the visitor until inside the house, with its long funneling approach. The master suite was separated from the primary living space for privacy and views. Adjacent to the master suite on the second level is a rooftop deck which doubles as a summer sleeping porch.
Exterior materials are chosen for their natural colors, and simple repetitive patterns. The roof is finished with standing seam metal intended to reduce heat gain without creating added glare. Windows are clad on the exterior to match the roof.
Interior materials were chosen for light and natural finishes. The landscape is in a constant state of flux, throughout the day and from season to season. It was important for the interior to be as simple as possible to allow the changing exterior landscape to read as dynamic as possible. Floors are a white oak and basswood walls show up throughout the house to help provide shape to the volume.
Each space has an orienting or primary design element, backed up by a series of supporting elements. For example, the living room has a large offset pivot door which when shut blends in with the adjacent wall surface and forms a backdrop for the fireplace. When open, a t.v. is revealed.
The house is small, approximately 2,400 square feet with the single car garage. The footprint on the landscape is minimal. The fir beams creating the shed roof structure are all reclaimed from a regional source, as are the railing posts, work bar, and dining table. Careful orientation and placement of windows help passively control sunlight throughout the day.