Architect Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects designed the False Bay Writer's Cabin, on San Juan Island, Washington. Photo: Benjamin Benschneider
False Bay Writer's Cabin
by Tom Kundig and Daniel S. Friedman
The False Bay Writer's Cabin serves as a private
writer's retreat and guest cottage on San Juan Island,
Washington. The owners asked for a space that felt
connected to its island setting — the mild
climate, scenic views, and proximity to wildlife. At the
same time, they needed a structure that could be easily
secured when not in use.
The 500-square-foot (46-square-meter) cabin was designed by architect Tom Kundig as a glass house surrounded by three wooden slat decks that can be raised — through a system of hydraulic winches, wire rope, pivoting sheaves, and lead blocks — to serve as shutters.
Open, the shutter decks are outdoor living space, connecting to the cabin's interior through tall windows and sliding doors; closed, they secure the cabin. The fireplace rotates 180 degrees to be enjoyed indoors or out. An inverted roof with deep overhangs forces water to drain to the rear of the cabin.
"It is intended to be a shelter of extremes, open or closed," the architect says. "In order to feel cold, you have to feel hot; in order to feel safe, you have to feel at risk. Contrast is the true measure of a complete experience."
The decks on three sides of the False Bay Writer's Cabin fold up to form wall-sized, bottom-hinged shutters that protect the building's glass walls. Photo: Benjamin Benschneider
Inside, the cabin is essentially a single room with a modest back area housing a bathroom and kitchenette. It is a small, contemplative shelter that can morph to suit the needs of the writer: introspection or complete openness.
Finishes are restrained, punctuated only by a blackened steel inlay that bisects the floor from the fireplace to the slot window at the rear of the cabin. A rack attached to the back of the cabin organizes the owners' kayaks. When the murphy bed is lowered, the transformation from writer's retreat to guest cottage is complete.
The new History Colorado Center in Denver, Colorado, designed by Tryba Architects, is scheduled to open to the public in April. Photo: Courtesy Frank Ooms
People and Places
by Nancy Novitski
Ricardo Legorreta in Mexico City, Mexico
Tryba Architects in Denver, Colorado
Boora Architects in Portland, Oregon
BDP in London, England, United Kingdom
Gluckman Mayner Architects in Syracuse, New York
Finegold Alexander in Deerfield, Illinois
Burt Hill in Phoenix, Arizona
Denver, Colorado 2012.0101
The History Colorado Center — a new Smithsonian affiliate in Denver, Colorado — is on track to open to the public on April 28, 2012. The $110.8 million, 200,000-square-foot (18,600-square-meter) building replaces the nearby Colorado History Museum, which was demolished to make way for a state judicial facility expansion. LEED Gold certification is being pursued for the new museum building, and exhibit installation is scheduled to begin later in January.
Located in Denver's Golden Triangle Museum District and Civic Center cultural complex, the History Colorado Center was designed by Tryba Architects of Denver to reference the state of Colorado through colors, daylighting, and materials such as Colorado sandstone and cabinetry of strand-woven aspen. A focal element of the building is its four-story skylit atrium, designed to host both exhibits and special events. Embedded in the floor is a 40-by-60-foot (12-by-18-meter) terrazzo tile map of Colorado, designed and installed by artist Steven Weitzman.
The museum will feature high-tech, hands-on, experiential exhibits, along with highly efficient, temperature- and humidity-controlled collection storage spaces on nearly every floor. Other facilities include a library, auditorium, classrooms, restaurant, and museum store, along with private rental spaces featuring views of the Rocky Mountains. The building also houses the offices of History Colorado (formerly the Colorado Historical Society), the State Historical Fund, and Colorado's Office of Archaeology & Historic Preservation.
The building project manager is Trammell Crow Company and the general contractor is Hensel Phelps Construction Company. Exhibit developer Janet Kamien worked with History Colorado staff on the exhibit content. Andrew Merriell & Associates is the exhibit designer, and Richard Lewis Media Group designed the media components.
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