Bohlin Cywinski Jackson - Sheldon Gatehouse in Cle Elum, Washington
Tuesday, 26 October 2010 07:03
When designing houses, the firm of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson has the natural talent of integrating the house in its surroundings. Their work dissolves into a synergetic composition that respects the aesthetic attributes of the landscape.
In the case of this project, as they explain, the client wanted a small home as a retreat from her hectic urban life. She sought to enjoy, throughout the seasons, the seclusion and connection with nature offered by her large forested property in the eastern foothills of the Cascades. The modest project included one bedroom, a guest suite for friends and family, and a garage that could be adaptable for use as a studio/workspace.
Responding to the client’s strong emotional connection to place transformed the request for a small cabin into a bold gesture emphasizing the threshold between her two worlds.
The long low wall of the building extends through the forest as a foil to the vertical trunks of the pine trees. As one passes through its front gate the house yields to the forest and opens to the meadow beyond. This gesture marks the symbolic transition from the trappings of urban life to the essential nature of the site. Just inside the wall, a boardwalk runs the length of the project connecting two major living spaces, one interior and one exterior. The two spaces mirror one another, each with a fireplace and one wall that is open to the view of the forest meadow.
Each living space accommodates the subtle differences between day and evening needs. In winter the interior living room becomes primary, with its broad hearth and views out onto the growing drifts of snow. During the milder months, the courtyard living space serves as the center of the home. Its deep overhangs protect the occupants from sun, rain and snow, and the exterior stainless steel fireplace warms them on cool evenings.
The project is one of the recipients of the 2010 AIA Housing Award discerned in May.
Name: Sheldon Gatehouse
Architect: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Location: Cle Elum, Washington
Engineer: PCS Structural Solutions
General Contractor: Cambridge Custom Homes
Landscape Architect: Allworth Design
All Photographs © Nic Lehoux Photography
All material courtesy of the AIA
Last Updated on Monday, 01 November 2010 14:06