A mountain hideaway house in the mountains of California

Directly connected to the ski slopes, Faulkner Architects’ Lookout House interprets local materials and large openings with magma-coloured windows in dialogue with the Sierra Nevada landscape.

Lookout House is a vaction home designed by Faulkner Architects in Truckee, a Californian town in Nevada County, which can be reached both in summer and winter when the area becomes a ski location. The building stands on a 20-degree slope at 1,920 meters above sea level, in a lot close to a three-million-year-old volcano. It is a concrete block with a central body raised by pillars and completed with a steel plate roof.

Lookout House
Faulkner Architects, Lookout House, Truckee, United States, 2018. Interior view. Photo Joe Fletcher

The project has been strongly influenced by the geology of the place and adapted to the side of the mountain occupying a total area of 860 square meters: the nearby ski slope is integrated into the property along the east side, allowing to reach the house by skiing. Inside, concrete walls – insulating and 50 cm thick – extend outside following the slope of the ground and providing access to the ski run. 

Lookout House
The dining room inside the Lookout House overlooks the surrounding landscape

The project seeks a continuous point of contact with the landscape, from the use of neutral tones to underline the exterior, to the choice of materials – the concrete is made from local sand, the basalt floor recalls the volcanic rocks scattered around; the bedrooms, with a view to the north, are located behind a walnut screen from the orchards of the nearby Sierra hills.

Lookout House
The access to the Lookout House is emphasised by the large magma-coloured openings

Red-orange windows immerse the rooms in a light reminiscent of cooling magma and full-height openings and terraces with sliding doors embrace the landscape of Jeffrey pines and white firs.

Lookout House
Truckee, California, USA
Residential building
Faulkner Architects
Design team:
Gregory Faulkner, Christian Carpenter, Jenna Shropshire, Gordon Magnin, Breanne Penrod, Darrell Linscott
Interior and Lighting Design:
Concept Lighting Lab, LLC
Civil engineering:
Shaw Engineering
Structural engineering:
CFBR Structural Group
Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical Engineering:
MSA Engineering Consultants
Energy modeling:
MSA Engineering Consultants
Rickenbach Development and Construction, Inc.
3D modeling:
Garrett Faulkner
860 sqm

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