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SITE PLAN 1 Main Lodge 2 Cabin 3 Parking 4 Boathouse

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the closely spaced trees, these forms seem much larger and more portentous than they actually are, evoking cathedrals and Gothic tracery despite the opacity of their massing and rigorous dedication to their small scale. Verticality is not a characteristic often associated with modest one-story buildings, but Levy has conjured up what his clients and their guests most often characterize as a cathedral, a fitting image for a building that so clearly heightens the awareness of its site. The painstakingly organized plan is clear—a long walkway connecting a modest arrival court with its simple garage cum boat shed leading to the other six modest structures, cabins really. As glimpsed from the entry drive, the garage is the first structure visible on the site and acts as the primer for all of the buildings in the compound. Further, it is the only one that is not concealed by trees. A path of raised walks connects the motor court, the guest cabins and the main lodge with its wind vane marking a sheltering porch. The straightforward system of raised paths in no way obscures the delight and surprise of moving through the site and experiencing views into the surrounding forest between the buildings. Along the raised walk visitors pass three rhythmically spaced guest cabins, each sheathed in a different color composition shingle. From the main building – containing living, kitchen, dining and utility under a continuous gable roof – connecting walks pinwheel off to a bunkhouse and the detached master cabin. Walking along these paths increases the awareness of just how carefully sited the structures are—one can touch trees from every point along the walk, not just look at them. Integral to Levy’s planning for the house

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was this very conscious effort to retain all the trees possible and in the end only one was lost. Equal care was expended by the contractor to ensure that construction activities didn’t carelessly undermine the planning. The result is a composed complex of buildings interwoven within the landscape. The main lodge is the most elaborate and densely detailed building in the complex. Open from end to end, the narrow, linear building is bookended by screened porches and opens full height into its gable roof. Here the sense of verticality is most clear—the screens are framed by slender fir columns that virtually disappear amid the backdrop of trees outside. One’s gaze is always upward, toward the ceilings or into the canopy of trees. The finishes are simple—utilitarian three-tab shingles for exterior cladding that mimic the texture of the trees’ bark and aluminum pivoting windows and doors. Projecting screen boxes allow the pivoting windows to open freely in the direction of prevailing breezes. The cabin interiors are all faced in clear finished MDF, which brings a luminosity and texture like leather, further completing the sense that one is in a camp, a tent really. Linoleum floors and fir cabinetry contrast with the simple palette and assume a luster and warmth but doesn’t detract from the focus on the windows and views. The architect and his clients have fulfilled the promise of Yeat’s great poem, and as a visitor I could “hear it in the deep heart’s core.” Weeks after my visit I hear it still. The writer directs the Michael Malone Studio within WKMC Architects.

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Texas Architect Sept/Oct 2007: Design Awards  

Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other...

Texas Architect Sept/Oct 2007: Design Awards  

Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other...