Project: Oak Shelter / Perch 2.0
Architects: Mike Stone Architect
Design Team: Mike Stone
Engineering: Spoden & Wilson Consulting Engineers Structural
Location: Blountville, Tennessee, United States
Area: 415 ft2
Photographs: Alyssa Nealon, Hiram Rash
Built slowly over 3 years, Perch 2.0 is the second iteration of its type and was primarily built of reused materials. The Perch 2.0 project was conceived in 2017 when a large portion of white oak rough-sawn lumber became available to the architect. The Oak Shelter is the result of a hands-on, immersive approach to creating architecture.
This method of working provokes contemplation at every turn. The wood used in this project first served in a series of design-build mock-ups in the College of Architecture and Design at the University of Tennessee. The Oak Shelter was also used as a studio desk and “perch” by the architect-in-training while working on his Masters of Architecture thesis project.
Once the thesis project and academic year concluded, the area where the white oak was located needed to be cleared, and the wood and mock-ups were no longer desired in the college. The previous projects were carefully disassembled and organized, salvaging all material including screws, scrap pieces, plywood, and other misc. items.
After 14 loads of wood and materials were transported on a truck and trailer from Knoxville, TN to the project site in the summer of 2017, this building began to slowly take shape in the woods on the architect’s personal property. Regular work sessions after the day job led to slow, steady progress and gave room for creative decisions to be made over time as the project was being constructed. The oak members were measured and evaluated, and the availability, condition, and sizes of the existing pieces influenced the form of the new structure.
The variable of time was inflated, allowing the process of construction to influence every aspect of this project. Despite being new construction, the building exhibits a gritty imperfect nature hinting at a much longer presumed existence. The brick was purchased from a local material salvage yard and originates from a former printing press that was built in the ‘40s. The black siding references the many old tobacco barns still seen across the Eastern US landscape and the swing was built by the architect’s great-grandfather.
This unmediated design project enabled the architect to explore an unconventional means of architectural production. Much of the building’s purpose was served during the process of its creation. However, it is used as a retreat for camping and socially distanced gatherings and will become a station to continue designing the next architectural intervention on the property.