Each project site has unique conditions that influence the architectural design and construction process.
The owners of a charming lakeside resort, realized an increasingly urgent need to rebuild four small seasonal fishing cabins before their maintenance costs surpassed their value. While the remote and rocky, waterfront location is perfect for a scenic retreat, it’s less ideal for accommodating modern construction and for sourcing building material and labor. The timeline constraints presented an additional challenge. To avoid disrupting the busy summer season, the site improvement and cabin construction needed to occur within a tight 9 month window. Our design proposal envisions a compact, three-part design that is constructed in St. Louis and trucked to the site.
A pre-fabricated proposal allows for the cabin construction to occur off-site in parallel with the site work, resulting in a condensed schedule that avoids the resort’s busy summer season. Each cabin is designed and constructed as three distinct parts: one social module that houses the kitchen/living space, one bedroom module that houses two bedrooms/two bathrooms, and an intermediary vestibule with glazed panel walls that bridges the two.
The social area is a single open space, separated from the bedrooms by the entry vestibule. The entry vestibule doubles as a physical expansion to the living space when the large sliding doors dividing the two spaces are open. The interiors, inspired by yacht design, prioritize highly functional and space-efficient casework which define the kitchen and living space.
The glazed entry vestibule creates an intermediary, flexible zone that serves as the formal entry and a connector between the sleeping and living spaces. It provides a drop zone for shoes, jackets, and other summer recreation gear. To accommodate the slope of the natural hillside, the expansion zone sits two steps down from the bedrooms to create stepped seating and a built-in daybed.
Equal in size to the Social Module, the Bedroom Module is broken into two equal sized bedrooms and baths. Each bedroom offers a lofted space accessible via a wall-mounted ladder for overflow sleeping and storage. Each loft is designed with an overhead skylight to gain head-height, natural light, and a larger sense of space.
The glazed entry vestibule creates a flexible, intermediary zone, visibly welcoming guests with the glowing warmth of the interior wood in contrast to the solid metal clad walls of the pre-fab modules. The transparent envelope creates a strong visual connection to the surrounding wooded landscape, while the lateral arrangement, allows for multiple cabins to locate close together in a staggered arrangement on the hillside while maintaining private sight lines.
Four identical prefabricated cabins are installed in a staggered layout, accommodating the natural hillside. To balance the uniformity of the cabins, the surrounding site work includes a network of organic winding pathways and planted terraces constructed with the local sandstone and landscaped with low-maintenance native species. The pathways connect a series of terraced decks which allow for direct views of the lake and outdoor living. The intentionally “wild” nature of the built-up landscape serves to envelope the cabins in the hillside.
(1) To facilitate delivery and installation of the pre-fab. cabins, a new access road is constructed to allow for semi-truck and crane access. The new access road will convert to resident parking after construction. (2) Terraced concrete foundations are excavated and poured while the prefab modules are fabricated off-site. (3) Both the ‘Social’ and ‘Bedroom’ prefabricated modules arrive complete with all interior and exterior finishing, millwork, and fixtures. (4) Prefabricated modules are craned into place. Additional minor finishes and plumbing/electrical system connections to on-site utilities are completed on-site. (5) The ‘Expansion Zone’ entry vestibule is constructed on-site by enclosing the space between the two prefabricated modules with glazed panels. (6) Proposed hardscape and landscape is installed, surrounding the cabins.