Located on 35 acres outside of Whitefish Montana, the Stillwater residence sits at the edge of a field along the Stillwater River. Views and access to the water were desired, along with the breathtaking "Big Sky" view across the meadow to the mountains in the distance. Due to a previous slide failure on the property, the county road was moved away from the edge of the water leaving an existing roadbed. The house site was selected to avoid any bends in the river, just at the edge of the field and on the existing roadbed. This provided great access to the river's edge but required restoration to the more natural topography. The excess fill from re-grading was gently mounded in the meadow to protect views and noise from the new road.
The house itself is aligned with the main axis along the length of the river. This provides great views as well as optimal solar orientation; the thermal mass of the concrete floors help to passively moderate internal temperature. Energy efficient windows, deep roof overhangs, and a super insulated envelope all contribute to reduction of energy use in the home. Elevating interior climate control to a fine art, a sophisticated climate monitoring system includes numerous sensors, a weather station, and an open loop ground source heat pump, reducing the supplemental heating/cooling demand and maintaining near perfect humidity, temperature and airflow. Programmatic areas are zoned to allow program specific climate control.
Upon entry to the auto-court, a glimpse can be caught of both the river and "Big Sky" view beyond. The procession through the house begins to set up this same alternating view of the water and then the mountains. Exterior courtyard spaces become defined by shifting the different functions of the house to each side of the main axis. There will be many stories told of the house that used to have a road running through it along the Stillwater River.