Architects: Envelope Architecture + Design
Project: Forest Retreat
Location: Northern California, United States
Photography: Richard Barnes
The clients sought a family forest retreat hidden in the forested hills of Northern California, where an extended community of family, friends and colleagues could gather. We wondered, What if the forest itself was the house?
Rather than a singular building, the house comprises a cluster of tent cabins—three sleeping quarters and a living-dining commons—rising into the forest canopy on stilts and linked by wood paths and gathering places. Extending our investigation into liminal structures, we aimed to foster playfulness and conviviality braced by affinity with family and friends.
The tented roofs and walls allow a connection with the natural setting—its sounds and changing seasons—while large clear and mirrored-bronze glass windows frame views of the landscape and neighboring “rooms.” Wood-framed walls and floors lend warmth and support the comforts of modern living, deep within the forest. Here, the forest and house are one with indoor and outdoor rooms suspended between the treetops and canopy floor.