Colorado Modern Rises From Ashes

In Sunshine Canyon House, Renée del Gaudio blends roots and renewal


Almost four years ago, a massive wildfire burned around Boulder, Colorado. The Four Mile Canyon Fire destroyed everything it met, including the pine forest that once sheltered this 4.5 acre property. Renée del Gaudio Architecture set out to design a new home there, taking the exposed landscape as an opportunity to resurrect the region’s heritage while affirming a sense of renewal.

Andrew Bartle Architects Photograph: Durston Saylor

Photograph © 2013 David Lauer Photography

Today, Sunshine Canyon House perches from a rocky slope to take in the stunning Colorado landscape. The architect's unique blend of sustainable modern and local vernacular is evident in the house’s open plan, exposed beams, and pitched gable roof. Its corrugated steel cladding protects it from fire, and generous windows provide sunlight in the living area, where two Barcelona chairs, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1929, are positioned for optimal view gazing. Renée del Gaudio explains the choice:

“This project is about rediscovering the architectural language of turn-of-the-century Colorado, when the area’s agricultural and mining structures were simple, straightforward, and structurally expressive. The house is a modern interpretation of this early vernacular architecture. The Barcelona chairs, with their minimalist design and exposed steel frame, share this sensibility.”


Read the biography of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Learn more about the Barcelona chair in our conversation with Kenneth Frampton.

Discover work by Renée del Gaudio Architecture.

View photography by David Lauer.