Covering more than 700 acres in a private Colorado valley, the residence is based on the concept of an indigenous stone ruin that has been built up and expanded over time. This is, of course, illusion and theatre. Yet, the finished result seductively successful. Internally, this immense three-and-a-half story “ruin” includes multiple fireplaces and an internal glass staircase.
Rhodes devised a unique pattern of stonework that gives the impression that sections of the “original” ruin have come down and been re-built over the millennia. Huge, almost cyclopean masonry supports the lower courses while smaller wrought masonry graces the upper portions. Some sections tie together crisply, while others retain the helter skelter appearance of rushed repair.
The pattern composition was created on paper from original sketches by the artist. Each stone was then pre-crafted and pre-assembled on the ground to confirm external dimensions. The work was then numbered precisely and shipped to the site for installation.
Although multi-faceted, the centerpiece of this commission is the water trough that forms an unexpected fountain at one of the many entrances. Assembled from 800 year-old reclaimed granite stair treads, the trough is both practical and whimsical. The upright stones are carefully notched into a precise assembly that belies its seemingly casual function.
The stone itself was a vibrant mix of antique salvaged stonework and newly quarried limestone. Much of the reclaimed material was collected from the Three Gorges Dam project in China where it was saved from certain destruction. Much has been written in on both Rhodes’ salvage work at the Three Gorges Dam by the international press. See the Rhodesworks Press page for further information.