Maine Retreat

Local barn-raising techniques creates an innovative cabin retreat in Maine

Synopsis: This west-facing family retreat on Heald Pond in Lovell, Maine, treats its owners to detailed panoramas of New Hampshire’s White Mountains through floor-to-ceiling windows. The house is a sequence of independently framed volumes, each supported by tree-like trusses spaced 4 feet apart. The trusses are built on the ground and raised into position before the walls and floors go in.

Detailed Description: Located on the banks of Heald Pond in Lovell, Maine, this family retreat faces west and offers expansive views of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Instead of a conventional orientation of the house that paralleled the water and gave all rooms floor-to-ceiling views of the landscape, we employed a cinematic method: the landscape emerges gradually as one moves through the house. We achieved this by distributing the program across five separate volumes. The initial entry volume is perpendicular to the water’s edge and the road, while the others splay incrementally in a sweeping curve, sequentially decreasing in size (based on a logarithmic proportioning system) and nestling and interlocking with adjacent volumes.

The house is further rooted in its site through a material palette recalling local barn-building tradition. The walls are of conventionally framed stud construction. Screen-like windows open up at each volume’s western corners, bringing in the beauty of the White Mountains. This design is available for purchase as a preconstruction plan.

The landscape emerges gradually as one moves through the house.