The first edition of Art & Home is here, a new literary collaboration between Sotheby’s and Sotheby’s International Realty, showcasing all the elements of an extraordinary life. Eight times a year, it will engage readers with sophisticated content and beautiful images related to the art and real estate worlds. See below for the first Sotheby’s International Realty featured article, Altitude with Attitude.
Not long ago, modern mountain architecture was an aberration. Today, it’s a movement. Alpine architects are now in the rules-breaking business. They’re importing exotic materials and innovative ideas from around the world for a mile-high mash-up of contemporary design and modern sensibilities….Refined is the new rustic.
Shed roofs are replacing complicated gables. Floating stairs are nudging out log staircases. Mini-skyscrapers are rising on mountaintops.
Modern mountain design encourages homeowners to toss aside notions of what a resort residence should be and redefine the vacation home experience. Advances in materials, construction techniques and engineering allow for more stylistic choices and greater personal expression in the most challenging locations and elevations. Those technical advances have also facilitated an important shift. Mountain residences no longer need be built as protective shelters against harsh environments. They can be inviting light-filled spaces animated by sun and brilliant vistas.
Imported materials, progressive designs and artisan crews come at a price, which is why avant garde architecture is typically found at the highest end of the market. “When you’re willing to pay $3,000 a square foot, that opens the door for craftsmanship and quality,” says Tye Stockton of Ascent Sotheby’s International Realty in Vail, Colo. “Affluent buyers are less concerned about budget and more concerned about the emotional feelings that gets stirred in them.”
Stockton is putting the finishing touches on his own modern mountain estate, one that hints at industrial design with steel I-beams and rolled steel decorative panels warmed up with imported reclaimed woods. The kitchen is sleek with stealth appliances and poured concrete countertops. Glass is one of modern architecture’s most fundamental materials, and Stockton employs it as a showstopper. A 10-foot-tall sliding glass wall system opens onto a quintessential Rocky Mountain panorama of jagged peaks and waterfalls. “In traditional mountain homes, solid walls are for hanging art. With modern, there’s expansive glass and the exterior is your art,” he says. “It’s magical.”
Modern is also unpredictable. And therein lies its seduction. “The more chances you take, the more creative the work,” says Stockton, “and the more exciting it is.”