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Lamson/West: A sustainable urban cabin

By Berit Griffin, Marvin Windows April 15, 2015

A cabin in the woods…it sounds like a relaxing getaway, but what would you do if your cabin is in the city (Cincinnati to be exact)? One architect had to reconcile a difficult walnut-wooded site with the client’s desire to live in a log home in the woods. He wanted to create a 21st century log home in the woods that would challenge the limits of architectural expression.

The architect, John Senhauser, developed a simple yet elegant plan conceived as a 24 ft. x 150 ft. “bar” rising into the trees from northwest to southeast. The structure bridges 40 ft. across an intermittent creek, preserving the natural drainage pattern and habitat. Inspired by the filtered light of the woods, an 88 foot long terrace was incised into the bar, creating space for a lengthy curtain wall of full height windows and doors.The house rises up a cascading stair to culminate in a glass-enclosed meditative space, providing access to the roof via an exterior stair.

The exposed post and beam structure employs sustainable practices such as a steel base frame with wood and steel flitched columns and trussed roof beams. Nearly all the materials, including the cypress logs and aluminum/wood windows came from within a 300 mile radius of the site and are renewable or recyclable. The grass roof absorbs and filters rainwater and the walnut trees, cleared to allow construction, were returned as flooring throughout the house.

The Lamson/West Residence is a great example of sustainable, beautiful design, and for this, it was a winner in our 2009 inaugural Architects Challenge. (Pssssst…architects can enter their projects for 2015 now!) What a beautiful urban cabin.