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Methow Cabin

Winthrop, Washington

Site

A sparse meadow adjacent to a network of cross-country skiing trails on the valley floor.

Program

A small retreat serving as a base for cross-country skiing and mountain biking. The owners wished to accommodate 6-8 people with a communal area for gathering and dining.

Solution

Siting: The building is aligned with the valley, opening at the ends to focus on the views up and down the valley. The service zone shields the living spaces from the road. A slot window – positioned for seated viewing – frames skiers gliding by.
Foundation: The foundation was required to extend 4-feet below grade to a point beneath the frost line. By using 8-foot vertical forms, a single pour provided sufficient depth while raising the wood structure 4-feet above grade to protect it from snowdrifts. Sufficient ceiling height was created for the downstairs bunkroom, with a protected at-grade window below the deck. Excavation spoils were used to form a mound for access to the entry porch. Structure and
Materials: Gluelam beams with wood decking span between a wood framed fin wall and utility zone. The exterior cedar siding is continued through the living spaces to create a continuum of interior and exterior space. Steel details were designed for ease of fabrication by local agricultural welders.
Roof: The shed roof echoes the slope of the hills beyond, while allowing snow to slide off easily. There are no roof penetrations, and the simple form eliminates ridges and valleys that would be susceptible to leaks. The shed creates both a protected entry porch at the low end and a sleeping loft at the high end. Accessed from the side, the entry stair remains snow-free even as snow avalanches dramatically off the end.

Awards & Publications

  • Citation Award – AIA Seattle 2001 Honor Awards for Washington Architecture
  • Honor Award – AIA Northwest and Pacific Region 2002 Awards
  • House of the Month – ArchitecturalRecord.com, October 2003
  • “New Work: Three Emerging Firms” Arcade, Autumn 2001
  • “Coastal Retreats” by Linda Leigh Paul, 2002
  • “Houses We Love: Walking in a Winter Wonderland”, Dwell, January/February 2003
  • “Architecture Highlights, Volume 3″ by Shanglin A&C Publishing (China), 2004
  • “25 Houses Under 1500 Square Feet” by James Trulove, 2004
  • “XXSmall Houses” by Casey Mathewson (Germany), 2005
  • “The Contemporary Guesthouse: Building in the Garden” by Susanna Sirefman, 2005
  • Umran Magazine (Saudi Arabia), 2006
  • “Residential Designs for the 21st Century” by Casey Mathewson (Germany), 2007
  • “International Houses Atlas” by Casey Mathewson (Germany), 2007
  • “Small Houses in Nature 2″ by Carles Broto (Spain), 2007
  • “Superb Cabins” by Charles Broto, 2007
  • “Masterpieces: Country House Architecture + Design” by Michelle Galindo (Switzerland), 2011
  • “Cabins” by Philip Jodido, illustrations by Marie-Laure Cruschi, 2014
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