Big Pine, NY
8,000 SF
2004

In a wilderness setting, architecture should be resonant with the environment to ensure that the inhabitant is engaged with the nature.  This building prototype reinforces the symbiotic equilibrium between the built environment and nature. The building is designed to be tuned like a musical instrument, accommodating changing program and climatic conditions.  A series of translucent roof canopies extend the interior spaces towards the sky and emphasize one’s relationship with the vast wilderness.  The structure is a simple device that can be easily transported, constructed and manipulated throughout the year.  It can easily be deployed in other remote wilderness locations, providing a prototype for recreational mountain shelters.  The building’s linear configuration includes pliable jointed segments that can be configured to take advantage of a site’s regional topography, hydrography, climate, direction of prevailing winds, and orientation to the sun.

The design emphasizes energy-efficient and reclaimed materials.  The protected north side of the building is clad in wool-insulated pre-fabricated panels with a standing seam metal skin.  Paraffin blocks imbedded in the south, east and west façades moderate the buildings heat gain and lossthroughout the year.  The roof canopies are made of glulam supports, bolted together on site—photo voltaic glass panels collect solar energy while filtering natural light to the interior space, louvered panels moderate light and direct solar gain, and ventilator panels create natural convection and moderate the flow of air through the building.  The out-fitted modular kitchen and bathroom chambers will be prefabricated off site using light-gauge steel framing and wheatboard panels.  Hollow concrete floor planks under the dining room provide a thermal mass for storing heat in the winter.  Reclaimed wood floors & decking shall be used throughout the building.

The building is designed to be autonomous for an off-grid setting with minimal energy consumption.  a hierarchy of thermal zones are regulated according to the intensity of seasonal and diurnal use and the room temperatures needed for the respective activities within each zone.  Photo voltaic cells generate energy for lighting and low-energy appliances; the hydro-electric generator supplies energy for the ventilation unit and boiler; propane supplies fuel for cooking and serves as a back-up energy source for the boiler.  Composting toilets process human waste to minimize the effects on the soil and natural ecology.