Stone Creek Camp
July 11, 2011
I recently came across a project that I thought was really cool…Stone Creek Camp by Andersson Wise Architects. As a Colorado architect I appreciate the architect's choice to combine wood and concrete for the exterior to create a very contemporary aesthetic while promoting the project's forested context.
The clients were Connie and Martin Stone, a couple who knows design and has worked with Andersson Wise Architects before. Martin Stone developed the manufacturing conglomerate Monogram Industries in the 1960s. When they decided to build a house in Montana they wanted a place that was completely unique but felt protected and part of nature and the existing landscape. They wanted both prospect and refuge, and found it in Bigfork, Montana.
Stone Creek Camp is an eco-friendly forested retreat on the eastern shore of Flathead Lake.
You approach the house by descending a narrow gravel path through dense forest, where you encounter first the compound’s 1,859-square-foot gatehouse, then a 5,358-square-foot lodge, a 2,073-square-foot guesthouse, and, closest to the lake, a 3,231-square-foot “master” house. Here the Stones have their bedroom, baths, sitting room, and two offices.
Each of the buildings possesses its own personality, yet all have intimate, cave-like spaces and expansive porches. Movable walls provide seamless connections between the inside and outside, plus dramatic views of the lake.
The gatehouse, guesthouse, and lodge are all clad in black-stained cedar with pitched Corten steel roofs. The "master" house, on the other hand, stands out above the rest. It is designed as a sculptural object in the landscape, providing a separate place for the clients to retreat from family and guests.
On the upper side of the house, the architect designed walls of reused Douglas fir, larch, and grand fir trees that were cleared on the site. Milled to standard cordwood size, the logs are dry-stacked on either side of an insulated, waterproof layer, and secured with blind fasteners.
Rock walls of locally quarried granite and a planted roof make this house feel refined yet humble, civilized with a natural roughness that fits its setting.
The "master" house, as well as the other three buildings on the site, was strategically placed to avoid impeding the path of a series of underground streams that flow to the lake.
These streams help irrigate other, more civilized spaces carved out of the wilderness, especially a lawn that slopes down to the water.
Despite its size, Stone Creek Camp emerges from the rock, wood, and grasses that surround it, taking advantage of the site's context in a way that respects the natural architecture of the creator.