Weekender Retreat

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Weekender Retreat | Conceptual

Conceptually, the structure is an insulated core with calibrated openings and views that can be manually opened or closed, and wrapped with a wide-sweeping sun shield. Puncturing the sun shield is a calculated light to give the Client a moving sun beam, always protected from the elements. Optimizing its compact size with minimal tempered space, the amount of finished interior space was matched in exterior space.

The design opportunity arose from inspiration of a property’s unique characteristics. Located within an ever-changing microclimate and quite remote location prompted us to provide for as much passive energy as the site could produce, leaving very little reliance on man-made power. Nestled amongst boulders with beautiful patina, aged conifers and vivid wildflowers, the cabin will give the couple a permanent moment of solstice.

On a beloved property and at a frequent resting point along a hiking trail, the owners pined for a more permanent structure to enjoy their favorite spot. Dotted with massive boulders, tall overhanging and protective rockfaces, elder coniferous trees, and groves of wildflowers, the idea of a shelter mimicking its surroundings formed.

Aiming for an energy-independent structure, the cabin was sited to obtain the prime location for views, winds, solar gain, and one that was fairly flat. It fell in an area that had northwestern shelter from twenty-five-foot tall rockfaces, expansive easterly views for those ‘camping sun’ mornings, framed views of their favorite rocks, all while perched on a small bluff. The design was kept natural and simple, aiming to embrace nature by way of outward- and inward-looking elements.


The insulated core opens itself to each punched opening framing a coveted view, and floor-to-ceiling windows inviting sunlight in at predetermined times of day. A long porch is cantilevered towards the south and east, acting as an extension of living space and housing an array of photovoltaic panels on the cabin’s sun shield above. A clerestory window wall rises from the sun shield to bring in low winter sun and direct it to hit mass walls in the Kitchen and sitting area. Splitting the cabin in two, they were placed to share warmth with each living space within. It also creates the passageway from public to private.

Radiant concrete floors and a wood burning stove provide additional warmth when needed. At the large framed opening, two operable, insulated shutters will close to limit Western solar gain and open to bring nature indoors. Openings in the bedroom were placed to gain the beautifully reflected morning light that bounce off of a nearby boulder. All elements were designed to mold the structure and its surroundings together. The color pallette resembles the boulder’s high and low patinas, rich bark, calm gravel, and moments of the wildflowers’ vibrant hues.