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Johnston Miner's Refuge

Miner’s Refuge by Johnston Architects:

“Architecture has a real opportunity to embrace and protect the unique character of this region if it addresses the right questions Site strategy, connection to place, site history, vernacular precedent and a willingness to consider program appropriateness are important issues that can be used to satisfy client needs and protect a delicate environment.

The Miner’s Refuge, intended as a weekend retreat in the beautiful but often harsh terrain of the Methow, was designed with these concerns in mind. The building is carefully sited at the base of the hillside tucked into the tree line to take advantage of and preserve the surrounding views. Its mass is dug into the topography, anchoring the structure to the site. The outdoors is pulled in through dramatic open views. The protected patio and expansive vista of meadow and mountain are incorporated as major components of the design.

The Miner’s Refuge has taken up the challenge of drawing upon and adapting those lessons of industrial rural vernacular to accommodate the needs of a modern lifestyle. The building massing is mindful and reminiscent of the history of mining in the valley. Its long linear circulation corridor leads from the entry along the entire length of the house giving access to the living and sleeping spaces.

Sustainability begins with building restraint. The owners of Miner’s Refuge came to the table with a smart and simple program that could satisfy their living needs in less than 1900 SF. The home, shared between two families, incorporates an open kitchen/living/dining area, two modest master suites and a small bunk room accommodating up to four guests. Renewable and environmentally responsible products were used where possible, the orientation and detailing of the building take solar gain into consideration and efficient mechanical systems combine to make Miners Refuge a project respectful of its environment.

The visual, physical and conceptual connections to place were the driving force in the design and what makes this project unique. The beautiful landscape and charm of rural eastern Washington is what initially attracted the owners to this area. It is this character that the design for the Minor’s Refuge embraces and aims to protect.”

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House Balancal By MSB Planning

“This house is situated on a very striking slope, and the house had to be designed in order to reduce the environmental impact on the landscape. We had to define the threshold and the other implantation quota in connection with the other surrounding buildings. Those made us think the best lay out possible for the house. So we favoured the privacy, the view on Funchal bay, to obtain a maximum sun expose. We managed to establish a harmony between the big differences of level of the different houses respecting the natural landscape.

The house is built on two platforms that follow the slope of the terrain, dividing the program into private and social space. The building meets the outer space and extends itself over these platforms, unfolding the social space and creating a series of small niches that allow the enjoyment of the house from the outside.

The building mingles well with the gardens that are very close and that surround the old house. Therefore you can see little paths surrounded by green areas.”

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