Colorado Lodge is an ongoing and iterative experiment in design, construction and friendship.
Functionally speaking, it’s a collection of cabins (you can rent!) situated on 2 acres of beautiful land in Big Bear, California. Conceptually speaking, it is an exploration into ways of being with / in / out / side nature.
About two years ago we first crossed paths with the property and after thoroughly not thinking through the magnitude of the property and project, we purchased it. The cabins were in a terrible way, but the land is gorgeous and it’s uniquely situated such that it’s both pleasantly isolated yet close to town. The sparks are there and, thus, the romance begins.
The architectural approach / strategy is to leave the exterior facades of the cabins intact, neutralize them by painting them black, and then completely rebuild the interiors. A completely new thing inhabits the shell of an old thing. Within the interiors, we use a minimalist, cost-effective materials palette that riffs on notions of nature + artificiality. Plywood, a highly processed but “natural” material, harkens to the forest and towering trees hovering just outside the building shell; the wild animal stares at the animal trapped in a cage at the zoo. For the ground plane surface of the cabins we use a patterned flooring that looks like little sticks of mulch; the natural ground outside is dusted with little sticks of mulch. What is outside, what is inside? To inhabit a shelter is to cross a threshold, nothing more.
Our landscape approach / strategy is to “landscape” as little as possible, because it’s a fool’s errand to garden in the woods. We build a long fence that creates a compound-like quality to the property. The property is now a room within the forest; you’re inside, outside. We build wood partitions that reduce the visual presence of cars, these screens float between trees and create previously invisible divisions. In the near future we will build simple, elemental amenities (decks, boardwalks) that don’t tell you what to do or how to live, more as abstract offerings to sit or lay on, look up at the trees, and breathe.
Colorado Lodge is an ongoing project. We’re working on it, and it will be different every time you come.