a&e architects, p.c., billings, mont.

Situated on the high plains of south-central Montana, where the mountains meet the prairie, architect Dennis Deppmeier's house has a deep affinity for its place. He used post-and-beam construction so that the building would rest as lightly as possible on the dry, fragile land. And the metal roof's deep overhangs shield the house and its inhabitants from the harsh elements of wind, sun, and snow.

"A lot of the vocabulary was intended to symbolize the rural vernacular of Montana," Deppmeier says, "but with a contemporary twist." He celebrated the post-and-beam framing by exposing it and using industrial fastenings that came from dismantled local power lines. The architect mixed other materials with a sure hand. Built-up casings, transoms, and warm woods are teamed with concrete block, sandblasted glass, and a metal stair rail. Inside and out, indigenous colors tie the house to its site. The cedar siding is designed to fade and blend into the landscape. And the galvanized metal roof reflects the color of the sky and disappears. "Our home becomes an accessory to nature," Deppmeier says. The judges deemed it "simple and nicely done."

project architect: Dennis Lynn Deppmeier, AIA, A&E Architects, P.C.
general contractor: Jones Construction, Billings
project size: 1,640 square feet
site size: 20 acres
construction cost: Withheld
photographer: J.K. Lawrence/jklawrencephoto.com