Project Description2012 RADA
Custom / 3,000 Square Feet or Less / Merit
Johnsen Schmaling Architects reinterpreted the traditional cottage as a vertically oriented structure constructed of concrete, stucco, and wood. One juror called the result “beautiful-looking.”
The architects designed the cottage for a couple of outdoor enthusiasts “who were getting tired of the tent and just wanted a place to cook and a place to sleep,” says Brian Johnsen, AIA. The design team of Johnsen, Sebastian Schmaling, AIA, LEED AP, and Nicholas Wood responded with a modest, compact volume that’s nestled into the hillside and provides wide vistas of the valley below. It also has a practical intention. “We didn’t want to go in with a heavy hand, so we went up to minimize the footprint,” Johnsen says.
The base of the house is a concrete plinth that’s left exposed, while a black stucco-clad box sits on top. “We used the dark stucco to emulate the tree trunks on the site, while the wood of the windows [and garage doors] add a warm accent,” Johnsen says.
Upstairs, the main living space consists of an open plan that’s bracketed by a galley kitchen on one side and simple sleeping volumes on the other. Movable floor-to-ceiling curtains confer privacy when needed, while large wood and glass apertures permit expansive views and provide natural cooling in the summer months.