Gluck+ has partially buried a house in Colorado to preserve the view and save on energy use.

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Houses embedded in the earth are becoming a specialty of Gluck+, the New York architect-led design-build firm formerly known as Peter Gluck and Partners. The reasons are compelling–the grass roofs reduce energy loads and their low profile doesn’t impinge on the natural landscape. In the case of a 2,850-square-foot guesthouse in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, the clients, for whom Gluck had designed a main house on the site in 2004, wanted a separate structure to be located on property to the south between a creek and an access road. But they didn’t want it to interfere with the splendid mountain vista they had from the main house. “So many views are destroyed by plunking buildings on top of the land,” says Gluck.

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The volume seems to collide with and lift over a rectilinear structure running east–west on a diagonal, which contains three bedrooms and the garage. A wall of solar panels on the south elevation of the bedroom wing supplies heat for the house and swimming pool.

The living and dining areas, anchored by a bluestone fireplace wall on the north, open out through glazed doors to the pool on the east and a private, sunken, triangular courtyard on the west.

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