On an open expanse of riverside terrain, this site presents views to nearby mountain ranges in western Montana. The land had been used for hay production for decades and over time a naturally undulating post glacial landscape had been graded to a smoother “tractor friendly” condition. Additionally, a portion of the river edge landscape had been extensively filled with soil to support farm buildings and road access, creating an unstable zone adjacent to the river.

Working in collaboration with the Architects and new property owners, we determined that the most attractive and least environmentally impactful location for a new dwelling was within the previously altered landscape adjacent to the river. To achieve this vision, over 10,000 cubic yard of soil were excavated to return the riverside contours to stable, natural slope conditions and to provide a home site with dramatic views of river and mountains. The excavated soil was in turn used to construct landforms inspired by natural glacial contours creating an effective privacy and sound barrier between the residence and a nearby rural highway. The landscape is being restored with native species including meadow grasses, wildflowers, paper birch, larch, and spruce.

Architecture: Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects