Back to Nature with Biophilic Design
We are drawn to the mountains – the way shadows move across the rocky faces, the peaks reaching towards the sky, the limitless ridgelines cascading at high elevation. Connection to nature is more than viewing the peaks, it is a lifestyle sought by many who want to live in the mountains and experience all that this special environment has to offer.
Summit Sky Ranch was designed to bring residents closer to nature. The neighborhood was planned with 60% of the site maintained as a unique type of open space – open space that is connected to a broader ecosystem and the White River National Forest. Considering each homesite and its relationship to the surroundings was part of Norris Design’s planning and entitlement efforts, and these efforts complemented the work of the development and architectural team.
Learn more about how Norris Design implemented biophilic design at Summit Sky Ranch in the article from coloradoBIZ below.
This article was written by coloradoBIZ and was originally featured online.
Building sustainably, or responsibly, is no longer a trend but an expectation. It takes more than just using local materials and contractors and considering your environmental footprint, to design and build homes in a way that’s innovative and attractive to buyers.
Summit Sky Ranch, a new community located in Silverthorne, is going beyond that demand and focusing on biophilic design: That which reconnects people with the natural world.
More than half of buyers come from the Front Range, and choose a second (or primary) residence to get away from crowds and congestion. While the location and views certainly help, immersing clients in nature reminds them of why they chose to call Colorado home in the first place, along with benefits to their health and wellbeing.
The first way to stay true to biophilic design is to focus on outdoor space, and prioritize interior second. People want to spend their time outside, connecting with the environment, and their home should encourage that through design features like decks, patios and fire pits, along with homeowner amenities such as trail access, lakes and open space parks. One amenity built into the plans for Summit Sky Ranch is its dark sky designation, which more easily allows homeowners to connect with the starlit sky while providing access to a state-of-the-art observatory.
To be authentically biophilic, a homeowner should be able to transition flawlessly from the indoors to outside through both large and uninterrupted site lines and interior/exterior circulation paths. Conforming to and accentuating the natural landscape is an additional way to support this. Interior home design is also critical and should include as much natural material as possible, clean lines and natural light. Design elements within homes and throughout communities should be light-handed, with as little manipulation as possible.
Finally, mindful placement and integration with the surroundings are important. The heart of Summit Sky Ranch – called the Aspen House – sits within a large aspen grove. The building is essentially all glass, oriented to get as much southern exposure as possible, and offers great views of the Gore Range, establishing a sense of place within the Blue River Valley. From social areas to cozy reading nooks, a business center to yoga studio, the Aspen House facilitates interaction among neighbors and encourages restoration through relaxation and exercise amenities all set against a natural backdrop of beautiful trees.
For homeowners to reap the benefits of a biophilic home and truly connect with the outdoors, the approach needs to be thoughtful and authentic, with all aspects of the project and its environment considered.