Experience the breathtaking beauty of VISION House® at Mariposa Meadows, a unique retreat nestled at 10,400 feet.
Written by Ron Jones, President of Green Builder Media
The VISION House series of projects we have produced at Green Builder Media over the past two decades can be found in locations from coast to coast, from Florida to California, the Pacific Northwest to the Great Lakes, desert locals including Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Tucson and Scottsdale, as well as Aspen and on the Western Slope of Colorado.
Among all of these remarkable demonstration homes the VISION House at Mariposa Meadows is unique in several ways. A compound comprised of three freestanding buildings offering four fully equipped independent residential dwelling units and common use areas, the purpose of the project is to provide elegant, comfortable hospitality to special groups in a remote, pristine setting. The intent is to offer a destination for leadership retreats, educational activities, planning meetings and team building opportunities in an environment totally immersed in nature.
On a private holding dating back to the 1800s Homestead Act, the facilities reside on 122 acres of wild Rocky Mountain terrain that became surrounded by public lands several decades later when the almost 1.7 million acres that border it on all four sides was designated as national forest. These rare and extraordinary private properties, known as “inholdings,” feature exclusive access to nature that is impossible to replicate in normal circumstances.
Adding to the special status of the location, it rests at an elevation of 10,400 feet and is accessible to normal highway vehicles only half of the year. Once the high-country winter conditions set in, usually shortly before Christmas, the USFS road that cuts through one corner of the land is closed to all but snowmobile traffic and Nordic equipment, like cross country skis and snowshoes, until it is reopened again the following spring when the heavy snows have melted and the roadway has had an opportunity to dry out and receive any needed maintenance.
The development is entirely off grid with electrical power provided by a 12-kwh ground-mounted photovoltaic solar array complete with battery storage, sophisticated inverter and energy management systems backed up by an onsite emergency generator. As a result, the nearest potential offsite light pollution sources are miles away, allowing for dark night skies that are among the most spectacular anywhere in the lower 48.
In addition to the remoteness of the location, the natural features, the topography, geology, flora and fauna present there factored heavily in the design decisions and product selections we made for the house in order to achieve success in all of our goals. Wildfire is our paramount concern so every product and system chosen had to deliver the absolute best resistance to fire spread and potential threats to the structures.
Additionally, given the extremes of the local climate and limited accessibility to the site, we were determined to include only those choices with the highest durability and resiliency along with the greatest avoidance of required maintenance.
At the same time, the aesthetics and design features of surfaces and finishes had to meet our highest sustainability and design standards. The compound is sited in the midst of a radiant aspen forest and every exterior product used in the construction had to embrace and compliment the natural setting; had to feel like it belongs there.
So, the colors, textures, scale and dimensions of all elements, whether decking, roofing, siding and trim, fenestration, masonry components, lighting fixtures and hardware, had to come together in harmony with the soils, the trees, flowers and grasses that form the natural palate found there.
All of these products are produced with high precision and integrate beautifully into the overall presentation. Each piece, every element, compliments all of the others and help us to succeed in creating an extraordinary tribute to outdoor living that feels like it is part of the landscape. We enjoy a sense of peace and ease into the mysteries of the aspen forest on each and every occasion when we get to spend time there.
We are privileged to have Trex as our partner and proud to display their extraordinary products at the VISION House at Mariposa Meadows.