the stillwater residence emerges as a series of farm sheds in the verdant veil of montana

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the ‘stillwater’ residence is immersed in a verdant veil

on a field along the calm river outside whitefish MontanaPBW architects has completed ‘stillwater’ residence. the project was first conceived as a second home for its owners, a place to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the city and get closer to nature. however, they eventually decided to settle permanently, taking advantage of the scenery, outdoor activities, and remoteness of the rural site.

from a distance, the exterior composition takes the form of a series of interconnected farm sheds. the architects opted for a design that makes the most of the landscape and brings touches of nature inside at every opportunity. almost every space in the residence faces an outdoor patio or terrace, extending the living space. wide openings penetrate the walls, letting in plenty of natural light and framing views of the verdant surroundings. additional daylight peeks in through the clerestory windows, providing great sky views at the same time.

the axis of the house is aligned with the river, but the separate volumes are oriented towards alternating views of the water and the mountains on each side

combine sustainable practices and technologies

the design team of PBW architects (see more here) sought to respect the site by incorporating sustainable practices and technologies into the design (from low-tech passive solar strategies to state-of-the-art air conditioning systems). clients wanted distant views over the prairie to the mountains and access to water. so, the position and orientation of the structure was crucial.

due to a landslide on the property, a county road that previously ran through the site was pulled away from the water’s edge, leaving an overgrown platform all along the river. the old platform provided excellent riverside access while taking advantage of this existing disturbance but required topography restoration. the excess backfill due to the necessary reclassification was gently mounded in the meadow to protect it from the noise of the new road and restore it to a more natural shape.

'stillwater residence' emerges as a series of farm sheds in the verdant veil of montana
soft berms helped restore the natural shape of the land, as well as blocking noise from the nearby county road

the main axis of the house is aligned along the length of the river, allowing views as well as optimal solar orientation. additionally, passive solar design choices, including thermal mass of concrete floors, help moderate internal temperature; energy-efficient windows, deep roof overhangs and a super-insulated envelope all reduce energy consumption.

Elevating indoor air conditioning to an art, a sophisticated monitoring system includes numerous sensors, a weather station and an open-loop geothermal heat pump, reducing additional heating/cooling demand and maintaining a humidity, temperature and an almost perfect airflow. entering the auto-court allows for a glimpse of both the river and views of the “big sky”. outdoor courtyard spaces are defined by staggering different functions of the house to either side of the main axis, providing protected outdoor spaces for living and dining.

'stillwater residence' emerges as a series of farm sheds in the verdant veil of montana
deep roof overhangs shelter patio spaces and block sunlight, keeping the interior cool in hot weather

'stillwater residence' emerges as a series of farm sheds in the verdant veil of montana
a dramatic angle marks the front door and driveway entrance

the stillwater residence emerges as a series of farm sheds in the verdant veil of montana
the floor-to-ceiling windows offer a view of the “big sky”, with a gaze that skims over the hay fields

the stillwater residence emerges as a series of farm sheds in the verdant veil of montana
Beetle Kill pine siding gives the home an agrarian feel

the stillwater residence emerges as a series of farm sheds in the verdant veil of montana
the surrounding landscape is made accessible by multiple outdoor spaces, ensuring that every space in the house feels close to nature

the stillwater residence emerges as a series of farm sheds in the verdant veil of montana
additional sunlight enters through clerestory windows that protrude above the main volumes

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