2019 Homestead Magazine

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Living “In” the Landscape

Design Inspiration
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Benchmark Builders has expertly blended a wide range of materials on the exterior of this modern home.

Architect
Dynia Architects

Story By
Genevieve Hicks

Photos By
David Agnello
Cameron Neilson
Roger Wade

Creating Intimacy Among Majestic Mountains with Stephen Dynia, FAIA

“The spirit of Jackson Hole is the connection of its people with the exceptional natural environment. The phenomenon of transformative natural light; the power of seasonal change and a climate that has a profound effect on daily life; topographical contour that contrasts rocky peaks with flat valley floors—all interact to profound, poetic effect.” – Stephen Dynia, FAIA

“Modern residences uniquely connect daily life with the exterior landscape by not being bound by the limitations of traditional architecture,” says architect Stephen Dynia, FAIA, whose work creates a dialogue with nature that defies the stereotypes of mountain communities.

“Architecture that is responsive to time, place, and purpose offers a richer relationship with the landscape than the ‘pioneer nostalgia’ of 10,000-plus-square-foot log cabins. What I brought when I moved from New York City in 1993—and what our firm continues to cultivate— is an understanding of something deeper in the culture of a place.”

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Virtual representation of the unbuilt Resor house designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1939, rendering by Dynia Architects.

Dynia received his architecture degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, an institution dedicated to art, design, and culture. This educational foundation and his perpetual support of the arts in all disciplines strongly influence the Dynia aesthetic. He says, “Watching true brilliance in any form of artistic expression inspires me to elevate my art—architecture.” His designs reflect the organic movement of modern dance, the complexity of classical music, and the paradox of jazz.

“We realize that, for our clients, creating a home is a singular, momentous event—substantial in their lifetime. We strive to create dynamic, innovative living environments—unique for each family and not subject to stylistic labels.” The firm’s mission is to create homes that genuinely reflect their clients’ needs while relating to the surrounding landscape. The work is not reduced to the superficiality of a singular style; each project is a new expression of spatial proportion, contrasting intimacy with openness.

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One of the firm’s first residences in Kelly, designed for a Jackson-based family, is part glass pavilion, part intimate cabin. Inspired by one of the earliest examples of modern architecture in Jackson—a Mies van der Rohe design for the Resor family—the home connects to nature while bringing sophistication to living in the Tetons.

Dynia and his team focus on the quality of the experiences their buildings carry. One of the firm’s most recognizable public projects in town is the Center for the Arts Performing Arts Pavilion, where the use of glass in the central spaces connects visitors to the neighboring, iconic Snow King slopes. This building brings together everything that Dynia Architects is about: the arts, architecture, and a dialogue with the natural environment.

Watching true brilliance in any form of artistic expression inspires me to elevate my art—architecture.”
– Stephen Dynia, FAIA

“Our best work is ahead of us,” says Dynia when describing the firm and his design team. Principals Lisa Carranza, Karen Parent, and Doug Staker—each having 10 or more years with Dynia Architects—are engaged in continuing the legacy that Dynia is creating. At its roots, the firm will always be a design shop that focuses on the process of creating innovative spaces. As Dynia says, “It’s about the quality of an experience, not just the look of the building.”