The Signal Shed is located within walking distance of the Eagle Cap Wilderness Preserve in Northeastern Oregon and acts as a short-term residence and outdoor adventure outpost. Since the days of Chief Joseph, visitors and residents alike have revered this area for its natural beauty.
In an effort to respect these natural surroundings, the Signal Shed was conceived as a small home, which provides access to the outdoors and causes minimal disturbance in doing so. For its foundation, the structure was built on a series of pier footings. The blackened rain screen cladding helps it recede into the shadows of the surrounding mountains and trees. Also, the shed’s ‘charcoaled’ exterior references the burned trees found onsite and recalls the past use of Signal Mountain as a smoke signal point for the Nez Perce tribe.
This mountain (which has been renamed after Gen. Howard who defeated Chief Joseph) is a backdrop for the primary view from the Signal Shed. A large sliding door opens the interior space to the view and outdoors so one still feels like they’re camping while inside. A single hatch window opens to frame a view of the Wallowa Lake Tramway and Signal Mountain. Windows, which face the forest on the other three elevations, are shuttered by the same slats that wrap the exterior. Thus, The Signal Shed can be closed and fully secured when left for long stretches of time. Inside, a loft, simple wood stove, kitchen counter and collapsible dining room table provide adequate accoutrements for rustic domestic living. At night, the interior light glows from behind the cedar slats as a series of vertical slivers.
To limit the project’s environmental impact and cost the original structure was built by the owner/designer using recycled windows and hardware and reclaimed siding and has no traditional utility connections. All materials were carried in from the main road and with a generator providing electricity. The western red cedar cladding was sourced to Willamina Portable Saw Mill, a portable saw mill company specializing in reclamation of fallen and discarded trees. The windows, door and barn door hardware were purchased at the Rebuilding Center in Portland. Interior casework and flooring is from IKEA. All other wood was sourced to local mills found in Wallowa and Union County through local distributors.