Using simple geometric lines, the exterior entryway complements the dramatic mountainside setting.

Ones to Watch: Bill Poss

The Arapahoe Ridge residence in Aspen, Colorado, reflects the tastes of its owners. Which is how architect Bill Poss, of Poss Architecture, intends each project to turn out.

“This house is unique in that the clients are collectors of art and they wanted a statement house that would focus on their collection,” Poss says. “They needed a lot of walls for large canvases, and space for the sculpture in the courtyard. Even the lighting was designed for the fixtures to be the focus of the area.”

The house is designed so that all the doors slide open to different areas of the courtyard, making the large outdoor sculptures enjoyable from many viewpoints.

“The clients wanted a museumlike feel both inside and out,” Poss says. “This way the home in Aspen can accommodate the constantly rotated paintings and artwork between their other houses.”

Shadow Mountain shades the whole town in the winter and also acts as a backdrop to the Arapahoe Ridge residence, which includes 8,500 square feet, five bedrooms, a master bedroom with a deck, an office study, a spa and live-in apartment for staff.

One of the most challenging aspects of the design was siting the residence on a very steep slope. “We try to build in the flat areas,” Poss says. “But when we needed to incorporate the slopes, we cantilevered the window walls over the hillside.” This technique is evident in the dining room, living room and the master bedroom, creating a dramatic statement.

Minnesota limestone, quarried monumental stone, was hand-cut, hand-pitched and layered between smooth and rough exteriors. “We wanted to give the home a contemporary rustic feel,” Poss says. “On the interior walls, where the art hangs, some of that rock is hewn and some is polished. On the courtyard and inside we used a combination of rough and smooth stonework as well.”

The clients found the supplier and chose the stone they preferred, then left the rest up to Poss. “We had it shipped in,” Poss says. “Each stone was cut to a shop drawing for a specific place in the home.”

Poss, who has designed homes across the Mountain West for more than 40 years, listens to his clients’ ideas and enhances them, by taking time to know the client and encouraging them to get involved in the projects. In this case Poss suggested using steel instead of wood. “The house is covered in zinc,” he says. “We wanted the oxidation of the zinc to put a soft patina to the metal while being virtually maintenance free.”

Because he knew there would be rotating art in the home, Poss suggested a neutral palette. “Everything is soft limestone colors so the paintings can pop,” he says. “And the paintings in there are very colorful.”

Even the light fixtures, created by artists, were designed specifically for the space.

“Our firm’s perspective is making a statement from the client’s wishes,” Poss says. “This is an art statement for the house which is a backdrop for our clients’ collection. It’s a soft space without it being overwhelming. The materials are all soft, the patinas of the zinc and the color of the stone. It’s a very elegant home.” 

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