SIZE5,515 sf (including boardwalks)
Kalmiopsis is a place to recharge the spirit and reconnect with the natural environment. Located deep within a 54-acre site in the heart of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness in the Klamath Mountains of southwestern Oregon, within the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, access to the center is extremely remote: an 18-mile forest road, adjacent to the Illinois River, leads one into one of the rare flat areas within the property’s boundaries. A creek traverses the site from north to south, providing a source for micro-hydro and fresh water, before emptying into the Illinois River. Two existing single family homes and several shed buildings occupied this area previously; in order to minimize the new residence’s impact upon the land, the basic footprint of these structures were repurposed and reinvented.
The buildings were conceptualized as a series of longhouses, connected via a continuous, universally accessible, elevated series of boardwalks. Their placement comes from the desire to preserve the existing trees on site. The buildings, including sleeping areas, living room (standing upon an existing home’s footprint), dining room, as well as a bathhouse, tread lightly on the land, coming in at 2,900 SF for all spaces. These spaces connect to the outdoors, in multiple ways, by almost 4,625 SF of elevated pathways, decks and porches.
Outdoor spaces transition to the enclosed spaces seamlessly across the site, especially in the sleeping rooms as deck shifts into covered porch, then into bedroom, and then into sleeping porch. The structure seeks to leverage the momentary flatness of the terrain by nestling into the landscape as it begins to transition back into rising forest. For this reason, the architecture is bounded by a fifth wall, the forest. The interplay of inside and outside, opacity and porosity is reinforced by the building’s structure and materiality. Joists, rafters and studs all conform to a rigorous 20-inch module, experienced as one passes through each room’s entrance. This spacing also allows for an efficient use of Structural Insulated Panels and FSC-certified wood. Salvaged wood, steel posts and floor-to-ceiling glazing comprise the rest of the material palette. Completely off the grid, the house relies on a series of PV arrays, solar thermal collectors, as well as micro-hydro from the adjacent creek, to provide energy to the site.