Barkow Leibinger

Barkow Leibinger
Schillerstraße 94, D–10625 Berlin
T +49(0)30 315712 -0 F -29

5280 House, Bozeman Montana

Warning: Division by zero in /homepages/41/d17261308/htdocs/inc/singleproject.php on line 41

This live/work compound in the foothills of Mt. Ellis sits on a gently sloping L-shaped plot along Leverich Creek, facing Bozeman MT and the Bridger Mountain Range. The region is characterized by a mix of farmland, dotted by barns and ranch houses, suburban housing, and a nearby Richard Neutra log house. Several other quintessential mid-century houses by Hugo Eck and Oz Oswald "Ozzie" Berg Jr. mark the area as well: Breeden Fieldhouse at Montana State University (built in 1957) was the world’s largest span glu-lam timber structure in the world. 

During the covid pandemic, Bozeman has become a highly sought-after residential community; the pandemic diaspora has driven up housing prices by up to 45% (March 2021) for housing stock, materials, and labor. Certainly, with the advent and proliferation of digital communication technologies and the new mobility of work, cities like Bozeman have become more viable places to live and work. In this context, this location has become more relevant to the architect / client as the site of an outpost for living and working. Building costs for the house lie comfortably between the lower costs of nearby suburban tract houses and the high-end private homes in the Yellowstone Club, a private ski area at Big Sky, MT.

The house is both extroverted (capitalizing on beautiful views of the mountains to the north and of the creek to the east) and introverted in its orientation toward a central atrium rock-garden, planted with local aspen trees on gravel and river rock. The L-shaped 5-acre site affords both views and privacy – especially significant as the area promises to become more densely populated. The courtyard house is a thoughtful approach to creating privacy without confining (expansive views and orientations do anything but constrict). 

The house is situated on a square-planned concrete slab on grade, which steps down incrementally and steps up the slope of the site in a diagonal fashion. The garage sits at the highest point and the master bedroom at the lowest. A continuous concrete earth-retaining wall with an exterior fireplace defines the southernmost edge of the house and screens away a nearby neighbor. The flat roof, constructed of glu-lam timber, is organized like a pinwheel in plan with beams parallel to the roof’s edges. The effect is that the rooms grow incrementally taller toward the lowest point on the land (master bedroom).

Two detached L-shaped wings sit across from one another. The larger wing contains the two-car garage, entrance foyer, guest bedrooms, kitchen, living spaces, and master bedroom, while the smaller wing contains a design studio, as well as bath/ sauna and orients toward the creek. While the roof unifies the two distinct areas, the central atrium garden provides a common space for the entire house. The continuous roof while covering two outdoor terraces, one facing the creek and the other framed by the retaining wall and outdoor fireplace.

The entire construction is timber: we opted for on-site and prefabricated timber as the most sustainable material and approach (including on-site balloon framed walls, pre-cut glu-lam beams and wood roof decking, wood cabinets, built-ins, wood doors and wood windows). The technology appealed to us for its power to adapt a historically viable material. In Bozeman, winters are extreme and summers short. The house can “close down” to selected heated areas in winter saving energy simply and as needed.

Project Information


Barkow Leibinger, Berlin

Frank Barkow, Regine Leibinger


Frank Barkow (Partner), Kate Bilyk, Annette Wagner



Residential, Workspace



Bozeman, Montana, USA



3,400 sq ft |  315 qm



November 2020 - November 2021




General Contractor

OSM Construction, Bozeman, MT


Structural Engineering

Bridger Engineers, Bozeman, MT   


Landscape Architect

Lillian Montalvo, Los Angeles, CA

Iwan Baan, Amsterdam