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Poulsen Residence

Jack Smith, FAIA


Craig & Alison Poulsen


  • General Contractor: McClatchy Construction,

Project Status


Year Completed



4,000 sq. feet
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Project Description


Poulsen Residence is a private residence constructed on an easterly sloping site in a mountain resort town in Idaho. This 4,000 ± square foot residence accommodates a family of four with guest areas and in-home office space. The clients were raised in ski resorts so they have an intimate knowledge of snow behavior including avalanche conditions. They therefore requested a flat roof because it eliminates snow drop and ice cycles. Large accumulations of snow are swept away by the wind rather than dropping on the leeward side of a pitched roof. Although the site is in a “blue” avalanche zone the avalanche potential is minimal. An integral part of the design, however, was to include avalanche barrier walls and shutters. Corten steel trellises act as both guard railings and trellises for vines which are intended to visually ground the house in the landscape and provide shading in summer. The clients requested large areas of glass to capture the majestic mountain views, especially to the south, east and north. Many casement windows were integrated in the design to catch summer breezes and provide cross ventilation. Formal tree bosques were planted to provide privacy and additional shading in summer. Since the house was just completed in June, the landscape has not yet matured. The intent is that natural grasses, wild flowers, and native brush will invade the formal planting and further ground the house in its natural mountain setting.
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