Can boundaries that stand between landscape architecture and nature be changed? The two harmoniously blend into a coherent shape which can adjust itself to the surrounding wilderness. This is the concept which was the starting point for the Ketchum Residence landscape design, by Lutsko Associates, winner of the the ASLA 2008 Residential Design Honor Award.
Photo credit: Marion Brenner Photography and Ron Lutsko, Jr.
Located in Wood River Valley, Ketchum, Idaho, the residence is placed on a suburban road, but opens to beautiful, natural fields. Usual projects see the landscape as being part of a distant view from inside the house. The Ketchum Residence considers inserting the natural habitat into the built space. This was achieved by letting native plants and wildflowers grow in between the stepping stones, up until close to the walls.
The weather in the area offers appropriate conditions for the project by having a desert climate. Moderate sun exposure in summer but also good winter vacation conditions. All these generate a complex flora, cleverly linked to the design. The residence integrates the local ecosystem by using pavilions and terraces. Also, it has both a walkway bounded with steel edges and a driveway, for efficient communication with the neighborhood. The indoors and outdoors are linked with paths fit for casual strolls.
The architects opted for the regional color palette both in the materials they have chosen, and also in the selection of plants for the near vicinity. This has the advantage of easy maintenance, reducing the need for exterior upkeep resources. Case in point: stone finishing for the terraces and natural rusted steel to offer appearance similar to the surrounding nature.
The Ketchum Residence offers a simple and convenient solution to approach nature once again. This time around, the focus is on bringing it inside, using simple lines, shapes and materials. By developing this project, Lutsko Associates allow the building not to act as a barrier anymore. It becomes an elegant meeting space designed for human living but with natural elements gently interfering inside of it.