When in Colorado you won’t want to miss visiting Bishops Castle, an extraordinary work of one man. For 40 years, Jim Bishop has been building a castle on a mountainside in central Colorado. Every year since 1969, Bishop has single-handedly gathered and set over 1000 tons of rock to create this stone and iron fortress
in the middle of nowhere.
With the help of his parents Jim saved up and bought himself a two and
a half acre plot of land in rural Colorado, planning to hunt and live on it.
A frontier spirit, when Jim decided it was time for him and his wife to get
a house, he figured he would build it himself. What started as a one room
stone cottage would soon grow to astounding proportions: it may be the
largest one-man architecture project in the world. Today the frontier
fortress reaches over 16 stories high, has three large cathedral windows,
wrought iron walkways and a steel fire-breathing dragon. Today Jim Bishop
is 63 and is still building. It is unlikely he will stop anytime soon.
READ MORE ABOUT THIS AMAZING STORY AND HOW TO VISIT HERE
Indigo Slam, designed by Smart Studio, was completed earlier this year and observing this extraordinary sculptural concrete building from the outside is evidence enough that something very special lies within. There are simply no words to describe the impact of this extraordinary house. There is a distinct calming sense that happens here as if entering a luxury spa, whereby you are instantly transported into a different world. The space compresses as a low and narrow corridor, before suddenly opening into a spectacular stair hall. Let’s just say it’s epicness of the central void – the soaring ceiling, the majestic staircase, the sheer scale of… well, everything really, balanced so beautifully with a highly restrained approach to materials and detailing with a monastic quality.
Taking it’s name from a crime novel, Indigo Slam transforms a former Simona warehouse site in Chippendale into an inspiring residence for Australia’s most prominent art collector and philanthropist, Judith Neilson. The Client’s brief called for something extraordinary – a piece of sculpture to be lived in. The team established a unique language of cutting, folding and stitching together for designing the building skin – something once flat becomes three dimensional and something once blank creates and enfolds space. This language is carried throughout each aspect of the design – from the concrete facades, to how the marble in the kitchen is sculpted and shaped, light switch or tap installed, to the planes and curves of the vaulted ceilings. The sculpted concrete facades of Indigo Slam are alive to the changes brought by light, shade, sun and cloud, providing the new urban park across the road with a lively backdrop to public life. The serene living spaces and monumental halls within create a dynamic spatial interplay of spare interiors in which the main decorative element is light.
The brief was for Indigo Slam to last 100 years. Materials are selected to wear and endure, with each fitting designed or selected to continue the language of overall design concept, occasionally adding a small element of surprise to the finely grained interior.
P.S. If you are so inclined, you can read a fantastic article titled ‘Designed From The Inside Out’: a conversation between William Smart and Heidi Dokulil, giving further insight into this fascinating project.
Images and drawings courtesy of Smart Design Studio and INSIDE World Festival of Interiors 2016. Photography by Sharrin Rees