stacked cabin, muscoda, wis.
johnsen schmaling architects

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.


View all 2012 RADA winners.

project credits

principals in charge: Brian Johnsen, AIA, and Sebastian Schmaling, AIA, LEED AP, Johnsen Schmaling Architects; project architects: Brian Johnsen, Sebastian Schmaling, and Nicholas Wood, Johnsen Schmaling Architects; general contractor: Rick Hansen, Rick Hansen Building, Arena, Wis.; project size: 800 square feet; site size: 40 acres; construction cost: $197 per square foot; photography: John J. Macaulay.

product details

bath and kitchen fixtures and fittings: Kohler,; cooktop and oven: Wolf,; countertops: Caesarstone,; dishwasher: Bosch,; doors: Archispec,; garage door: Clopay,; hardware: Schlage,; hvac equipment: Trane,; insulation: Johns Manville,; lighting: Juno Lighting,; paint: Benjamin Moore,; refrigerator: Frigidaire,; siding: DuoCoat (plaster); windows: Eagle Window,; wood stove: RAIS,