What immediately snatches our attention is the suspended gallery atop an expansive porch. The ‘floating’ balcony with slatted timber cladding belongs to a modernistic cabin by the paradisiacal shores of Lake Superior, in close proximity to the small town of Herbster, Wisconsin. Designed by Minnesota-based firm Salmela Architect, the so-named ‘Family Retreat’ project entailed the construction of a snug habitable space within a family’s camping grounds. The end result showcases a contrasting pattern with the cedar slat finish of the aforementioned balcony and the black hue of the main house that is derived from a paper-resin composite.
On closer inspection, one could comprehend two protruding beams that support the suspended gallery. Now, beyond the visual treatment and views being offered from its level, this balcony does have a practical purpose – and, that entails providing the much need shade on the porch underneath (especially during summers). The very same structure takes a protective role during winter by shielding the porch against snowfall and heavy rains. All of these ‘functions’ is complemented by the habitable credential of this space – since the extending gallery can be used as a makeshift bedroom with views.
As for the main component of the Family Retreat, the structure boasts of V-shaped roof from the sectional perspective. Once again, beyond the visual quotient (that seemingly replicates a boat hull), this arrangement helps in draining away the rainwater via spouts positioned on both flanks of the building. And quite interestingly, the main retreat is not the only building within the compound; it is accompanied by other small structures – like a sauna and a storage room, all of which maintain the seamless design entity of the main habitat.
Finally, coming to the interior part of the Family Retreat, the architects have followed the conventional notion of providing ‘semi-private’ zones in the ground level, with the inclusion of the open-kitchen and a living and dining area. The top floor on the other hand, comprises of user-specific areas, like the master bedroom, a guest room, two bunking area, and of course the aforementioned gallery space.
Image Credits: Paul Crosby.