DNA Alpine

A series of secluded cabins rest high in the alpine landscape of the San Juan Mountains. The main house, the garage, and the sauna buildings hug the sloping topography and nest into stands of mature evergreen trees, preserving the gently undulating meadow beyond. 

Having spent many years exploring the mountainous landscapes of Colorado, this unique site holds special revere for the client. Accessible by car only in summer, occupants must reach the cabins by snowshoe in the winter months. Given the limited access to the especially undeveloped land, the project needed to respond really directly to the site itself, at a number of layers.

Responding to the owner’s interest in synthetic biology, the siding is composed of a series of four metal profiles arranged in a pattern derived from the DNA sequence of the adjacent Engelmann Spruce trees that tower over the land. The angle of each of the siding profiles is slightly different, creating a subtle distortion in the reflection of the landscape that transforms as the light changes.  

Together, the roof forms of the three structures shift and fold to mimic the sloping landscape while opening the interior spaces of the main house up to dramatic views of the San Juan Mountains.

DNA Alpine Residence
DNA Alpine Residence
DNA Alpine Residence
DNA Alpine Residence


Under Construction


San Miguel County, Colorado

Project Size

4,000 SF

75 Acres

Primary Scope

Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Interior Finishes

Interior Finishes and Furnishings by Arnell Kase

Primary Materials


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