MICHIGAN LAKE HOUSE
This Northern Michigan weekend house was designed for a couple and young child as weekend retreat. The client, a public policy consultant in environmental issues energy use, and a civil/environmental engineer wanted a low maintenance, energy conscious retreat that was small, but able to accommodate extended family when needed. The site is a sloping, wooded site on the north shore of Burt Lake. The cabin is organized on three levels to minimize the footprint and to encourage outdoor living and minimal energy use. The ground level is simple space that contains a small kitchenette, bathroom and a series of built-in butler bunk beds for kids and opens to a large, partially covered deck with an long, outdoor kitchen and fire pit, which serves as an outdoor living room for the cabin. The intermediate level, which is connected to the crushed stone parking area by a bridge, contains only a screened porch and large stone fireplace. The main living area/ suite of the cabin is on the third level is treated as a large open volume and contains a bedroom, bath, kitchen, built in shelves for a library and an open living / dining area. The roof of the cabin is shaped to open to the elevated views of the lake to the south and to collect rainwater in a large cistern at the rear.
The south elevation is marked by a covered deck defined within the main volume of the house, which also serves to shade the living areas from the summer sun. All the windows are designed with operable panels that allow the cabin to be fully enclosed when not in use.
The project is to be constructed of wood framing, with shop fabricated steel trusses. The interior is lined only with birch (a predominant tree species of northern Michigan) plywood and local stone, while the exterior is clad with a silvered red cedar slat rain screen system. The structural elements of the house on the exterior are wrapped in weathering steel. The palette references the economical and vernacular roots of northern Michigan in the timber and iron ore industries.