safe house

a con­crete re­treat is high and mighty in cal­i­for­nia

Wallpaper - - Architecture -

Hus­band-and-wife team Casper and Lexie Mork-ulnes, an ar­chi­tect and de­signer re­spec­tively, work to­gether at San Fran­cisco- and Oslo-based prac­tice Mork-ulnes Ar­chi­tects. One of their lat­est projects is a com­pact con­crete guest house in Cal­i­for­nia’s Sonoma Val­ley, for which they have dis­tilled the def­i­ni­tion of a ‘re­treat’ down to its es­sen­tial value, as a place of shel­ter and pro­tec­tion.

Feel­ing re­laxed in­side a sturdy piece of ar­chi­tec­ture be­gins with feel­ing safe – even when, as in this case, it is can­tilevered over a ravine – which is why the pair de­cided to build this new ad­di­tion to a young fam­ily’s hol­i­day home en­tirely in con­crete. And the trio of con­crete co­coons soon had oc­ca­sion to prove their pro­tec­tive cre­den­tials. As soon as the units were com­pleted, the Nuns Wild­fire rav­aged the val­ley. ‘It scorched all the way up to the build­ing,’ says Casper. ‘We were won­der­ing how the struc­ture was go­ing to per­form, but there was no dam­age – only the ground was black­ened.’

above, the re­treat com­prises three small vol­umes Perched at the top of the ravine

right, made of Board­formed con­crete, the Build­ing fea­tures ex­te­rior Pivot Doors in solid eastern white Pine

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