Design Work is Underway at Buffalo Peaks Ranch

Last summer, the University of Colorado at Denver’s Graduate School of Architecture began designing what will soon be the Rocky Mountain Land Library’s future home at South Park’s Buffalo Peaks Ranch. The graduate students visited the ranch several times, analyzed the existing structures, and planned for the future ranch campus. The Land Library was thrilled at the student’s enthusiasm for the Buffalo Peaks Ranch project, and throughout the semester we were constantly challenged and surprised by the students’ thoughtful and innovative designs.

In the next few weeks, the UCD School of Architecture begins its second semester at the ranch, building on last year’s work, making some key decisions, and adding more detail to the emerging plan. We can’t wait to begin!

The UCD Studio Class is led by Kat Vlahos, a remarkable architect/educator passionate about the need for a comprehensive study of ranches in their relationship to the Western landscape.

And that’s where the class’ first site visit began: getting a broad view of the ranch’s landscape:

Here we are as Kat (in her red vest) gives us a lay of the land. Rising to the east is Reinecker Ridge — a starkly beautiful element of the landscape, that one student aptly referred to as a rolling wave.

The sky definitely set the tone that day. Someday, people will pass many a productive hour watching clouds from the Land Library’s porch!

Each structure was studied, measured and photographed. Here we are at one of the student’s favorite outbuildings: the Clerestory Barn.

The sturdy timbers of this barn excited the future architects, and they loved the play of light through the clerestory above.

Then it was off to the Steel & Concrete Barn — one of the most distinctive structures at the Ranch.

A cluster of students examine the concrete stalls that run north of the Steel & Concrete Barn — again, taking in the light effects, among other facets.

Measurements were taken for a full semester’s work ahead. (In the background you can see one of the old bunkhouses that we are hoping to scrape and paint soon!).

Here’s a few students taking measure of the mainhouse’s front porch. In the distance you can see the Clearstory Barn and the rolling wave of Reinecker Ridge.

It was a wonderful day at Buffalo Peaks Ranch, and it’s been inspiring to be part of Kat Vlahos’ ongoing work! The Land Library is extremely grateful for the chance to work side-by-side with the following UCD students — future architects all (and there at the Land Library’s creation): Kirsten Armbruster, Fabian Baumann, Erin Card, Kirsten Coe, Thomas Davis, Abigail Filanowski, Jennifer Foss, Laura Freeman, Brandon Fruhwirth, Craig Lawrence, Natalie Martin, Jamie Stadille, and Robert Stroud.

Stay tuned for updates on this fall’s semester!


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