a concrete retreat is high and mighty in california
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