Camouflage House BY Johnsen Schmaling Architects
The Camouflage House sits on a steep lake bluff, its narrow, linear volume nestled into the hillside. Approaching the house from the rugged access road weaving through the site’s heavily wooded plateau, the building’s faint, low-slung silhouette virtually disappears in the surrounding vegetation. With its simple plan, restraint use of materials, and precise detailing, the house achieves an elegant clarity and a rustic warmth that nevertheless avoids bucolic sentimentality.Informed by early conceptual studies of the most striking features of the context, the house’s complex system of façade layers, contrasting the geometric discipline of the building mass, expresses its ambition to assimilate with its surroundings. Echoing the trees’ arresting verticality and the rhythmic shifts between the trunks as one moves through the site, the building skin is composed of solids and voids – wall and glass panels – whose seemingly random organization overlaps with the strict 48″ base grid of the building’s exposed structural columns. This first façade layer is clad in untreated vertical cedar and serves as the backdrop for a series of polychromatic Prodema wood veneer panels that reverberate the ever-changing hues of the surrounding deciduous trees. Over time, the cedar walls will weather to a silver-gray, while the wood veneer panels will retain their original color and pristine finish.