Bear Run Cabin / David Coleman Architecture

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Bear Run Cabin / David Coleman Architecture
© Ben Benschneider

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Bear Run Cabin / David Coleman Architecture
© Ben Benschneider

Located on a rain-drenched site in the rugged, north-western foothills of the Cascade Mountains, this modest, sustainable building has a big presence in a big landscape. Surrounded by dramatic, mountain peaks, the site slopes to the east and overlooks a large woodlot. Our clients wanted a building that had presence in and subservience to the wild landscape. This duality became the thematic tag that informed the design.

Bear Run Cabin / David Coleman Architecture
© Ben Benschneider

In order to preserve the rugged landscape, we limited the building’s footprint to a 30’ by 100’ rectangle. Two buildings are juxtaposed within this footprint in a ying/yang fashion, leaving a sinuous exterior space that is defensible and varied. The western terrace is carved into the site, stepping down into the earth, leading to a soaking tub set behind a glass wall. The south-eastern porch and monumental stair, both covered by a soaring roof, rise above the site, offering shelter from the rain and summer sun. Both spaces meet in an interstitial “rain garden” – a place where seasonal rains gather and flow toward the river below.

Bear Run Cabin / David Coleman Architecture
© Ben Benschneider

The building is designed to be seasonally expansive – generous in summer when livability expands outside onto the porches and terraces, modest and efficient in winter. The 890 SF cabin houses a great room, bath and sleeping loft clad in frameless glass. All rooms open toward distant views of the mountains.

Bear Run Cabin / David Coleman Architecture
© Ben Benschneider

The 1000 SF studio houses a music room, workshop and guest loft. The west wall is clad in a polycarbonate skin, bathing the interiors in sunlight during the day, and the exterior terrace in a dramatic display of light at night. Building forms are angular and elemental, not unlike the surrounding mountain peaks. The result is a dramatic building, deceptively simple, deeply rooted in the site and unexpectedly crisp and modern.

Bear Run Cabin / David Coleman Architecture
© Ben Benschneider

Sustainable features include geothermal heat, plantation-sourced wood, super insulation, and passive solar. The cabin’s shell was built by a local contractor and finished by the client on a tight budget over several years. The cabin’s name comes from a particularly memorable experience he had during construction.

Project Details:
Location: Marblemount, Washington, USA
Type: ResidentialHouses
Building Area: 1900 SF
Architects: David Coleman Architecture
Design Team: David Coleman, Dan Payson, Trevor Dykstra
Owner/Client: Mark Malone, Joan Declaire
Photographs: Ben Benschneider

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