Architecture Out on the Leading Edge

What makes a mountain home design stand out among the rest?

Many homes in the high-end high country tend to be vast, sleek, and striking—but these seven complex mountain home designs take it to the next level entirely.

With sculptural-yet-functional forms—inspired by both the homeowners’ unique fancies and the homes’ breathtaking mountainous sites—these seven homes employ designs you just don’t see every day. 

This elongated home design in Telluride, Colorado, might cause you to do a double take. While it boasts long, linear, nonparallel walls, you’ll also notice that it incorporates ever-so-subtle curves and angles—along with a reflecting pond and windows at every available turn—to capitalize on the expansive mountain views.


This barrel-shaped structure was an industrial addition to a home outside of Vail, Colorado, attached to the main house by a steel glass bridge. The round two-story assembly consists of an observatory dome on the top, a greenhouse to supply delicious organic food on the second level, and not just a living area on the bottom level but also a car collection display, à la Ferris Bueller’s Day Off


This unique home was designed with the homeowners’ love of golf in mind—and right next to a golf course, to boot. Perched slightly above the green, with window walls curved, extended, and leaning outward, the entire backside of the home focuses solely on views of the course. Thanks to technological design and digital manufacturing programs, the apt precision required to bring such a complex design idea (and others like it) to fruition is now faster and easier than ever before.


Built into its hillside location, right at the timberline, this Telluride home is an incredible nod to its site. The material was harvested from the property to create four large stone pods, connected by the contrast of tapered, trapezoidal bridges that hover over the water. The sculptural shapes interlock and complement each other effortlessly.


In the Vail Valley neighborhood where this home was built, a gable roof was required, so a gable roof they got—with a twist. Adding much visual and architectural interest to one of the home’s three long gabled spines, these bold cascading wood and steel columns—emphasized by lighting from below—make the entryway a force to be reckoned with. 


For a mountain retreat of less than 3,000 square feet, this Rocky Mountain home packs a powerful punch. Wood and polished, marble-esque concrete adorn the exterior and interior, offering a balance of textures. To accommodate its extremely steep site, an elevator/stair shaft (on the right) brings its homeowners and guests from the garage below to a glass bridge. The main structure is anchored by a striking chimney column and shaped with curved roofs and decks—a treehouse-like perch on the mountainside.


The forms of this Edwards, Colorado, home are as nontraditional as it gets. But the conical shapes aren’t just for show; they also serve very specific functions. The copper window structures are curved outward to capture views of the pond on one side and the mountains on the other. The two transparent connecting bridges serve as gathering spaces in their own right, where people can soak in the breathtaking visual impact of their surroundings.

Jack Snow is the co-founder of RKD Architects, Inc., a boutique firm based in Vail, Colorado, that specializes in resort and mountain architecture, with the goal of creating excellent design. View their profile or contact Jack at 970-926-2622.

Content for this article provided by RKD Architects, Inc.

Categories: Contemporary Homes