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Crozon Mountain Retreat

“We work the clay in the shape of a vase, for it is precisely where there is nothing that the effectiveness of the vase resides. We make openings for doors and windows to make a house, for it is precisely where there is nothing that the effectiveness of the house resides. Thus, we think that we benefit from things that are tangible, but it is precisely where we do not perceive anything that true effectiveness resides.”

- Lao Tzu

The full forest reveals the clearing on which Crozon Mountain Retreat sits. It is the forest and the mountains that define life. The winding road that leads up to the mountain is its first expression of retreat. The mountain escape provides a space for the meaningful undefined. Days are spent in the landscape – in the winter on the ski hill and in the summer on the lake and hiking trails. Retiring in the evenings to the home as a renewal of energy and connection. The Retreat provides two spaces with defined functions. House One is designed for togetherness with expanded kitchen and bedrooms located on a separate level, while House Two creates an increased sense of solitude with views that face outwards. The peaks of the two buildings extend away from each other, creating a protected interstitial space between the two buildings.

Crozon Mountain Retreat digs into the landscape providing connection to the ground. While this concrete connection embeds the buildings into the ground, the corten steel form cantilevers out past the mountain and floats above the steep slope. The building is oriented to this slope, which thereby orients the primary living space to the south. Spanning views of mountain peaks surround the building. Meaningful voids are cut from the forms to create an increased relationship between inside and outside. Decks allow in-habitation of this in-between.

The hearth is at the center of the The Retreat. The wood fireplace provides a gathering point; the warmth providing comfort and atmosphere, as well as a connection to the raw material of the forest. Warmth is also inserted through the wood clad service cores that act as objects in space. Kitchen elements, bath, laundry and storage are centralized to serve the greater open living spaces. Meanwhile the corten steel facade wraps the building. The material transforms, marking the passage of time and the physical experience of the site. Openings for doors and windows are cut to create curated views and connections to the outdoors. Irregular openings create framed views of the landscape based on the function of the space. House One includes openings that exaggerate the social nature of the space, while seclusion is enhanced in House Two as it turns away from the other building, increasing privacy.

Crozon Mountain Retreat explores tangible and immaterial through the dialogue of juxtaposition. We recognize the emptiness in a forest by understanding the abundance. Through examining light and heavy, public and private, service and served The Retreat aims to create a mediated space in nature.

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