Planted in the high-desert landscape of Tehachapi in California, the Sawmill Canyon Retreat builds upon the pastime of camping in tents around a cozy campfire and is a lasting emblem of the owner's presence in the area. Olson Kundig Architects designed the 5,200 square-foot family home with a simple scheme, which includes a central gathering hearth and separate private areas for everyone in the family.
Olson Kundig received a 2017 AIA Housing Award for the project. Read on for more about it.
“Shaped by the challenges and opportunities of the remote site, Sawmill is self-sufficient, durable, and economic.”
The home is equipped with several sustainable features to create a comfortable environment amid the harsh desert environment outside, including solar panels, wind power, geothermal energy use, and salvaged structural steel sourced from a demolished cement plant, Olson Kundig describes.
“Riffing on the tradition of tents around a campfire, the 5,200 square foot house is comprised of three private zones or ‘tents’ surrounding a central family hearth.
Each ‘tent’ projects out from the main gathering space: one zone for the parents and one for each of their two children — and, someday, their families and extended families.”
The owners of the house describe it as “the lasting marker of their presence and legacy in the area—a welcoming convening space that will keep them coming back to this rural landscape that they’ve come to love and hope to preserve for generations.”
"A very well done cabin which doesn't seem to be any more than needed as far as size but offers much more as far as spirit and understanding of the place," commented one of the AIA Housing Award jurors.
You can check out all the winning 2017 AIA Housing Award projects, or more of Olson Kundig's work in the links below.
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