My family and I recently had the opportunity to go on a mini vacation. It was with a large-ish group so we had to find a large place to stay. We choose to stay in a “cabin” in the woods. It was perfectly adequate. There were bedrooms for each family and enough TVs that no one had to talk to each other. Luckily we all were able to keep the TVs off, stay out of the bedrooms, and enjoy one another's company. We all had a great time.
But as I stayed there my “architect” brain was intermittently kicking in (and making me feel dirty for enjoying myself). The “cabin” we stayed in was a typical Utah mountain house. Huge, and located about five feet from the road so that you don't have to get dirt on your shoes. The size, while nice for our group, was on the whole gigantic. 3 separate kitchens is an excess. My biggest “architect” road block was how the structure sat as a scar on the forest. Designed as a cabin that could really be placed anywhere and no where all at the same time. It bright yellow “logs” could be seen from miles away, as if to say “I am the beautiful thing here". The trees had been clear cut and pushed into piles. Allowing a visual memory of the forest that was once there and could have been responded to with some sensitivity. In an effort to not just be a complainer in this blog post, (I am sure I will do that on other posts) here are a few examples of projects, that I have looked at recently, which exhibit serious sensitive to their location. Each photo is from the website linked below it.
For my money one of the very best examples of site consideration it Thorncrown Chapel.
The Amangiri Resort is an amazing example of world class response to Utah context.
Olson Kundig have become synomis with sensitive design in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Here are a couple of small houses that disappear into the forest.