Thoughts at Ski Bowl



This weekend I went up to Ski Bowl with the kids. The weather was surprisingly nice and it snowed off and on all day. The little lodge that sits between the bottom of the ski hill and the top of the tubing hill is a busy place. I must've gone in and out of that building 15 times that day through each of it's three entrances. The drifts had made stairs into ramps and first floor windows snow viewports, like a submarine in white fluff. As the kids quickly climbed onto the roof and rested on it's easy pitch it made me think of how much the snow changes the dynamic of this building. How incorporating an ever-changing dynamic like snow into a design allows that unexpected quality to emerge, something that will never be the same twice and can be experienced in many different ways. 

Years ago I saw an image of the Shaw House, a Vancouver house by Patkau Architects, that incorporated a slender pool's shadows as art. This image has stuck in my head since architecture school and whenever I see unexpected shadows cast by water droplets on my car's moon roof I see that image. It was stunning and ridiculously inspiring, of course that's on my dream wish list! So I took a stroll through the interwebs to see what other double-duty homes I could find.














My first find was a clever house that is actually two distinct pieces, a glassy inner cube and a more solid outer shell that slides on a hidden track based on how much of the home wants to be exposed. I love how this looks like a big red barn in it's quaint British countryside site, aside from the sliding goodness hiding in the works.

The second find is this house termed the Tattoo House, which uses vinyl super graphics on the exterior of it's glassy floor to ceiling windows. Similar to the Shaw House, the tree limb shadows fill the space with an ever changing mural. This building is really simple and mostly glass, which works well in letting the graphics be the main element.

The third building was a proposal for the Solar Decathlon which uses elements of both of the above houses. The building is a series of planes that can slide based on solar orientation and wind paths. The perforations in the panels let the light filter in and dapple the interior. The texture and color of the building harkens to local materials making it sensitive to it's site, as well. 

Who knew that a day spent up on Mt Hood would remind me of that initial pool photo that rocked my world back in the day, but I'm glad it did!