Black Hills Homestead

Black Hills Homestead

Tomecek Studio Architecture
Black Hawk, CO, USA
Private Houses

Modern Prefab Custom Home in Black Hills, SD

Tomecek Studio Architecture as Architects

This project is envisioned as a full-time residence, guest house, and fully functional barn. The essence of the architecture takes cues from the rural agricultural aesthetic on one end of the spectrum and contemporary living on the other end. The conceptual goal of the project is to use the structures to illustrate the evolution of how we use materials, harness natural light, and, most importantly, create and design useful spaces, all while portraying the evolution and modernization of architectural design.
The heart of the arrival sequence is the ‘Gateway to the Meadow’. The meadow is framed by a breezeway calling out entry into the Main House and Barn while simultaneously allowing passage through to an outdoor gathering space overlooking the meadow.


Project Brief


The Barn harkens to the traditional functional aesthetic of the locale, to become the icon at  the arrival entry to the project. Subtle contemporary interpretations are found in the barn details and material selections.
The Main house capitalizes on the meaningful connection and views to the meadow. The house is based on more traditional forms while having clean detailing that speaks to building in the present day.
The Guest house takes advantage of the meadow views and utilizes a cantilever to reach out and overlook the treed ravine below. This building is more contemporary in nature with slotted windows that tune transparency and opacity.


Fabrication | Barn


Pole barn construction, while being more cost-effective than typical construction, has various additional advantages for large, agricultural buildings. Once the poles are erected, the horizontal trusses applied provide the necessary rigidity while eliminating a large amount of framing. Also, the simple, repetitive construction can often be completed by much smaller construction teams. To further enhance the design of the pole barn, we focused on key details including the steel and polycarbonate barn doors and door hardware. Beginning with a series of cardboard mock ups, we developed a custom steel door handle to ergonomically fi t the hand. 


The project implemented modular construction to take advantage of compressed timelines, controlled building environments and reduced waste factors effi ciencies. Modular construction, while vastly improving with time, still has its constraints. Dimensional shipping limits and the separation of interior spaces around ‘marriage lines’ must be considered near the start of the project. Communication between the factory, architect, and on-site contractor became vital as tolerances between site-built portions and factory-built modules are extremely small.


The Main House

The hearth of the home is embodied by the elevated skylights, directly above the vertical circulation. The walls of the kitchen and the master bedroom are held low to allow the light from above to spill into either side of the public/private boundary. Rather than concealing its prefabricated identity, the structure celebrates its connections as exemplifi ed by the truss work. 


The Cottage


A seemingly random cadence of glass on the cottage’s exterior draws inspiration from the varying spacing of tree trunks and light allowance of the vegetated surrounding. Each opening in the façade runs from fl oor to ceiling to minimize interruption in line of sight, while the idea of dissolving the horizontal boundaries is further enhanced by the use of a dropped ceiling around the entire exterior wall. The recessed cove eliminates the window frame from view, allowing the glass to terminate with the sky rather than structure.


The cottage takes advantage of the meadow views and utilizes a cantilevered deck and roof to reach out and overlook the treed ravine below. The home’s central utility core allows slotted windows on all four sides of the 24’ x 64’ house to tune transparency and opacity while providing privacy only where necessary. 


The Coop


A fundamentally utilitarian structure, the chicken coop presents a unique architectural challenge - create a harmonious landscape and focal point to the complimentary architecture of the clients’ residence and horse barn, elevating the design of a typically uninspired program, all without sacrifi cing the core function. Taking the design problem a step further, the coop is meant to be experienced by not only its inhabitants but humans from both inside and out as well. 

Breaking the process down into concept, construction method, materiality, and details allowed every aspect of the coop to be designed and evaluated. The coop sits within the meadow adjacent to the cottage referencing the juxtaposition of residential structure and agricultural form - chicken coop being both. It refl ects the vegetated backdrop during the day and acts as a lantern during the night, constantly visible from the various viewpoints on the property.


  The 10’ x 10’ x 10’ cube directly results from the volume necessary to house all of the structure’s elements: chicken run, nesting box, roosting bars, water and feed. The client’s growing fl ock of 30+ chickens, along with the rule of 1 nesting box per 3-4 chickens, sized the solid cedar insert, while its elevation off the ground sprung from the desire to allow free movement below the box, ventilation from below the box, and provide a covered entry into the box for the chickens during the day.

Project Credits
Showroom Talsee AG
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Showroom Talsee AG

Hochdorf, Switzerland - Build completed in 2012
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