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Cernostes Artist Retreat

Project Location: Cernostes Lake, Latvia
Project Status: Design Development
Project Type: Residential / Cultural
Project Size: 2600SF
Project Team: Caleb White, Emily Gruendel

The geometry and form of this proposal is inspired by the vernacular wooden buildings of Latvia. This project is conceived of as a contemporary re-reading of this typology. The bifurcated and curvilinear form of the building is calibrated for radial wood framing. The material of the enclosure is rough hand split wood shakes. The material wraps from the roof to the walls, only disrupted by the eaves which extend and frame the openings. The envelope is designed to weather and age over time. The project would begin as a gleaming wooden structure and age gracefully to take the color of the trees in the context - blending into the site while maintaining a dynamic and contemporary formal quality.

The painter’s lake house proposal relies on the concept of bifurcation. This idea was used to develop the form of the project as well as an informed approach to the unique program proposed for the site. The term bifurcation implies something which was one that has been split into two. This concept addresses the idea of hosting two artists and their families. The bifurcation house would provide common spaces in the middle of the house: kitchen, library and dining area. Where the bifurcations occur, the form of the house splits, allowing for more secluding residential wings to be removed from the common areas.

These bifurcations are finely tuned to take advantage of circulation and views on the site. They are carefully and geometrically calibrated. The studio and the house share a common arc of bifurcation to create an interior courtyard and garden which would be sheltered from the winds but provide views to the lake. This space would provide a semi private amenity to both the artists coming from the studio and the families in the house. The ends of the bifurcated forms are glazed or solid with punched windows depending on their interior program - they also have been oriented toward views of the lake or the surrounding preserved trees. The studio is designed with a similar strategy to the house, there are two multi use studios for the artists which can be closed off when needed or the whole space can be used as a large multi use space.

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