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Naturally Inclined: Aspen House Honors Its Site

Naturally Inclined: Aspen House Honors Its Site

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID O. MARLOW

Like many before them, a couple visiting Big Sur, California, fell under the spell of the Post Ranch Inn. Inspired by its organic architecture, they contacted its architect, the legendary Mickey Muennig, to design a home they intended to build on land they had purchased in the scenic Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado. Muennig, by then in his 80s, graciously declined the project, but he recommended one of his protégés, Lea Sisson, whose architectural practice was more conveniently situated in Aspen. It turned out to be a perfect match.

The couple and Sisson aligned with complete synchronicity around green building principles. “They wanted an eco-friendly house, but also one that was organic in its design,” Sisson says. “They wanted the house to connect with the outdoors seamlessly by orienting the views, sun and landscape with the program.” The architect studied the property obsessively and sited the home to make the most of natural sunlight and breathtaking mountain vistas. As the owners “were drawn to textures that felt as if they belonged in Colorado,” Sisson says, she turned to materials such as mahogany, claro walnut, redwood, cedar, poured concrete and rusted steel to realize the structure.

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