At Sugar Bowl‚ to complement the owners’ sensibilities‚ instead
of emulating the steeply gabled Swiss chalet style of neighboring
homes‚ Maniscalco once again veered toward modernism’s marriage
of form and function.
“Modern for me is simple grandeur‚” Maca says. She has had an affinity
for a clean-lined aesthetic since her childhood in zapallar‚ along the
Chilean Coast‚ where her parents had a home with built-in concrete
seating accented by Alvar Aalto‚ Le Corbusier furniture‚ and bold works
of artist Roberto Matta.
Maniscalco’s distinctive solution was two stacked boxes facing
southward toward the valley‚ echoing its spare rigor. The lower box
is clad in cedar like traditional mountain cabins are‚ while the other‚
a modern indented glass-walled lookout with asymmetrical bays‚ is
topped with a gently-sloped flat zinc shed roof that folds down to clad
its back wall. The roof‚ canted backward like historic railroad sheds in
the avalanche-prone area is engineered to support heavy icy loads‚
allowing the melting snow to fall safely away from passersby. A sheltered
entry porch and broad roof overhangs provide even more protection.
The entire structure rests atop two elephantine eight-foot high concrete
plinths‚ spaced apart to create a breezeway. during winter‚ the home
seems to float above the snow pack that obscures the base.
The lower floor house was conceived as a bunker‚ where a vestibule
and a double-story stairwell separate the guest suite and large loft-like children’s room with built-in bunk beds from a boot room and
utilitarian spaces. Upstairs is the living area and a master suite‚ where
an abundance of glass doors link the indoor spaces to a loggia deck
and the outdoors. These sun filled rooms‚ deliberately set back a few
feet from the facade for privacy‚ look onto snowy vistas seven months
of the year. Bands of eye level kitchen windows that pierce the zinc-clad
north facing rear wall are designed to view ever changing snowdrifts
while a ten-foot wide double story stairwell window frames a tableau of
“I wanted the light filtering through the trees‚ the snowy nights‚ and the
mountain to be felt at all times‚” Maca says.
As if to echo the landscape‚ douglas fir covers the ceilings‚ walls and
cabinetry‚ and gleaming walnut floors and end grain butcher block
are juxtaposed against white Caesarstone. They complement Maca’s
choice of earth-toned wool and leather furnishings‚ but these materials
can also take the crash of children’s gear and ski shoes. “I thought that
with less ornamentation‚ the house would be more calm and pleasant
inside‚” Maca says.