We recently completed construction on a unique commission in Aspen, Colorado’s bucolic West End. This desirable little neighborhood is adjacent to downtown Aspen and is comprised mostly of narrow urban type lots. Our client had bought a lovely piece of property which was burdened by a very ugly 1970s house. He decided to tear the house down, divide the lot into two parcels, build a house for himself and another house to sell speculatively. The way the property was split, one house was designated to be 25 feet wide and the other (to be the client’s personal home), 35 feet in width.
The opportunity to design two side-by-side houses presents interesting challenges. The houses should be complementary but not overtly similar; an architectural yin/yang, as it were. In conceiving this pair, a marriage came to mind and the houses quickly became gendered and personified: the narrow house would be the bride, while the broader lot would site the groom. Our groom would be a predominantly stone house, dark in coloration and asymmetrical. His roots would be a tad English. His mate, on the other hand, would be all wood, symmetrical and lighter in tone. Her heritage: the feminine tones of the Victorian era. Like most good duos, their differences were designed to blend to a single harmony. In this case, an arranged marriage by design.
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