Kinderhorn Residence by Marwan Al Sayed Architects

Description from the architects (Marwan Al Sayed Architects):
Situated on a 16 acre mountain site at the edge of the town of Ketchum and the famous Sun Valley Ski Resort in Idaho. The design for this new house for a young couple and child was inspired as much by its topographical conditions as it was by the clientÕs own penchance for athletics; skiing, biking and running. The site, known to locals as Kinderhorn (child mountain), is defined by two relatively small mountain peaks situated in the center of the Wood River Valley and the spectacular and majestic peaks that surround it on all sides.

With an elevation change of over 200ft, the site is visible from the valley and essentially splits: to the east the Sun Valley Lodge and Resort; to the west the Snake River and Sawtooth Mountain Ranges. The house responds to this condition insofar as it nestles into the lower section of the site by folding in upon itself and aligning with the two peaks on the site. Built into the hill on the one hand, and floating above the valley on the other,
the house negotiates between the elements of rock and sky.

The main entry, ski waxing room, recreation room, study and garage are all situated on the ground level, set into the mountainside with a cast concrete structure the walls emerge from the ground and simultaneously act as retaining walls. Floating and cantilevered above this concrete earth work are the main living areas forming an ÔLÕ shaped volume, which is clad in thin silver colored white Atlantic cedar and large expanses of glass, emphasizing and energizing its light weight and expansive nature. The ÔLÕ volume wraps around the concrete base and frames a triangular sky space courtyard that rakes light into an internal piazza for family gatherings and a place where their young daughter can play on an otherwise mountainous terrain of rocks and

As the house twists, folds, rises and cantilevers from rock to sky the ÔLÕ shaped volume affords panoramic views of the village of Ketchum below and the distant landscape of the ski slopes of Baldy Mountain as well near and serene views of the rocks and ridges of high desert Kinderhorn Mountain. As the site is covered almost five months in a blanket of snow, the exterior materials of silver grey wood, translucent milk white glass and light grey concrete blend into the mountain, as if in a fuzzy snowstorm.

The interiors have been conceived as varying zones of intensity and color, ranging from dark deep browns to golden yellows and ethereal whites; relating to the energy source of each area as it relates to the internal purpose of the space and the ever-present outside landscape. The final undulating twist of the house occurs at the north where the Master Bedroom aligns with the Peak of Kinderhorn Mountain, an effect of landscape on building form.

From here the clients will enjoy a purified and unobstructed view of the natural landscape: white snow and sky in winter; a riot of mountain wildflowers and high desert green in spring and a serene dry rocky landscape with silver green desert foliage and blue skies in summer.

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