Tumbling waters define The River Ranch in Colorado, USA. The legendary Elk River cuts a ribbon through the ranch, providing 2.5 miles of riverbank access. A lively, sight-fishing stream, two small ponds and a deep, spring-fed lake also offer endless fishing adventures. Built of the highest quality materials with meticulous attention to detail, The River House is both grand with its towering beamed ceilings and massive rock fireplaces and inviting with its warm wood finishes and relaxed, open floor plan. The exterior is covered with 2.5-inch-thick Douglas Fir planking, secured in place from the inside so that no fasteners are visible, then chinked and gently corn-blasted to reveal the warm hues, straight grains and soft textures of this remarkably strong and durable wood. A gabled wood shake shingle roof and stone accents complete the sophisticated mountain style.
Three large barns, including the equestrian center, and two smaller barns facilitate the smooth operation of the ranch. This first-class equestrian center is ideal for the professional or amateur horse enthusiast. The ranch has three fully appointed houses suitable for staff housing, guests or income-producing rentals. Three tidy cabins are situated with privacy and relaxation in mind. These houses and cabins can comfortably accommodate up to 17 people, including families, couples and mixed groups. [Photos and information provided by Adam York]
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests
Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.