This gorgeous River Bank House designed by Seattle-based Balanced Associates Architects opens up to a verdant pine forest just outside of Big Sky Montana. Built astride the Gallatin River for a sustainability-minded family that also loves to entertain, the home maintains a contemporary but minimalist ambience that places nature first. Its orientation towards the river has the added benefit of just the right amount of solar gain during cold winter months without permitting too much during the summer.
The River Bank House receives quite a lot of summer sun, which is partially mitigated by solar orientation and also by a large roof over the living room that provides shading to areas comprised of a large amount of glass. But winters in Montana are also severe. To provide for both weather extremes without excessive mechanical intervention, geothermal pumps were installed to use heat from the earth’s core to provide warmth, which combined with superior insulation keeps the energy footprint of this enviable residence to an absolute minimum.
A towering outdoor fireplace adds to the warm atmosphere and allows entertainment even when the chill sets in. Well-known for their prefabricated homes and overall attention to building in harmony with the earth, Balance Associates Architects have made at least one family happy with this cozy mountain abode.