Lanterns by Dry Creek

AIA Gold Medal recipient Peter Bohlin designs two luminescent jewels along the creek’s edge

by James 31 December 2009
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    Material, structure and craftsmanship played a vital role in the realisation of this modest cottage and office. The building’s parti is clear, as they are delicately inserted among the established California Oaks and Bay Laurels along the edge of Dry Creek. Solid wood clad boxes, constructed with the precision and thoughtfulness of a cabinet, face the entry drive while the full height glazed living areas open up to the more private world of the creek. The Cedar boxes contain the ‘service’ elements of the program; a galley kitchen, bathrooms, an office and utility rooms. Delicate ribbon windows are strategically placed in the simple façades providing specific views, introducing light, and maintaining privacy where required. The main living space is a modest 12’ x 28’ glass volume. A Murphy bed is built into a wood clad nook to the south, inserted into the window system. Double doors from the living and dining area open onto the shared courtyard between the cottage and office, creating a visual and programmatic link between the two buildings. Upon entering the main meeting space in the office, the floor cantilevers over the edge of the creek bank allowing the occupant to hover above the creek as if entering the forest.

    The horizontal rigour of the Cedar boards continue inside, at times peels away, revealing Douglas fir siding and structure. Vertical grain Douglas fir rafters project from the Cedar boxes, extending outwards, drawing one’s eyes towards the tangled oaks and moss covered rocks of the active creek. The Douglas fir siding and structure provide warmth to the glass boxes. In the evening hours, the spaces glow. A light steel frame extends along the northeast glazed faces of the transparent pavilions heightening the effect of the wood boxes and rafters.

    The simple, modest structures function as one as they address diverse programmatic needs, while maintaining a strong relationship to one another. They boldly assert themselves and at the same time softly float into their surroundings; a clear response to place.

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