House at Stone Creek Camp
by Arthur Andersson and Chris Wise, with Frederick Steiner
The remote Stone Creek Camp compound near Bigfork, Montana, is entered gradually by descending a narrow gravel road through the deep vegetation of a northern primordial forest. About a mile into the pilgrimage, the forest opens to a dramatic expanse of land, sky, and water. Flathead Lake reaches into the distance.
A pair of stark, substantive gatehouses greets the visitor, while the arrangement of buildings in the camp below embodies the notion of prospect and refuge as put forth by the English geographer Jay Appleton in his book The Experience of Landscape.
It is the unexpected opportunity to see combined with the ability to hide in a protected space that reinforces aesthetic satisfaction. Being here, one can experience the lake, with its view, grandeur, and promise. At the same time, the rooms of these structures provide an intimate sense of being in a protected place.
The Camp is situated along a sloping hill, leading visitors to discover the site progressively. From the gatehouses, a pebble and earth path leads down the hill to the Master House (illustrated here), the Main Lodge, and the Guesthouse.
The buildings offer warm, almost cavelike spaces as well as expansive porches, open to the sunlight and views. They are designed to let people feel the natural environment, indoors and outdoors. Small windows and thick walls facing into the slope of the site are contrasted with entire walls that open up toward the lake.
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This article is excerpted from Natural Houses: The Residential Architecture of Andersson-Wise by Arthur Andersson and Chris Wise, copyright © 2010, with permission of the publisher, Princeton Architectural Press.