Cape Russell Retreat / Sanders Pace Architecture

© Jeffrey Jacobs

Architects: Sanders Pace Architecture
Location: Tennessee,
Project Team: Brandon F. Pace, John L. Sanders, Michael A. Davis
Client: Suzanne Shelton & Corinne Nicolas
Project Area: 16.3 sqm
Budget: $47,200.00
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Jeffrey Jacobs

The owners commissioned the architect to design and coordinate construction of an off-the-grid lakeside pavilion with integrated water reclamation and photovoltaic technology for weekend use. A lightweight steel structure was chosen for durability and ease of fabrication. This structure was shop fitted with tabs to allow for the attachment of a secondary skin. In developing this skin the desire for transparency coupled with a passive cooling approach led to a shop fabricated structural screen of 2×4 vertical cedar boards backed with insect screen. Structural blocking located between the vertical structure lends a delicate pattern to the structural skin camouflaging the structure within its densely wooded setting. Towards the water view the cedar skin dissolves and becomes a series of screen panels allowing unobstructed views to the water and mountains beyond. A single 8’x8’ sliding screen panel provides direct access to the water.

floor plan
© Jeffrey Jacobs

Additionally the cedar screen provides the structure for the butterfly roof above that directs and delivers rainwater to a collection cistern located beside the structure. An internal charcoal filter and ultraviolet light treat the water for potable use. Rooftop mounted photovoltaic cells provide the necessary power to run the water pump, refrigeration, fans and lighting providing for a truly independent overnight living situation.

Cite: "Cape Russell Retreat / Sanders Pace Architecture" 20 Jan 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • Matt

    Very well crafted and detailed.

  • INawe

    $47k seems expensive considering the size of this project. However it is very well done.

    • Chris

      I feel you. I love small rustic getaways, but the price is outrageous for a screen porch with a sink, detailed as it may be. Off-grid systems are pricy, but I just don’t see how those alone could drive it up to 47k.

      I think it’s a nice idea though, I’d like to do something similar someday… for about $100 a square foot… and maybe make it suitable for year-round use as well..

  • le Mies van der Wright

    Actually 47k doesn’t seem much at all, considering this is an autonomous off-the-grid structure with PV, water cistern for collection and a treatment system. People pay that much for a kitchen remodel.

    I think the detailing is superb – this is a masterful project.

  • steve

    I didn’t see how the WC was incorporated.
    Perhaps the abundance of trees is a solution.

  • richie


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  • Liam

    So beautiful and well detailed.
    Big ups to Sanders Pace Architecture!

  • A

    A big thumbs up. Very well done.

  • Modern Zen Architecture

    Finally! A nice tight design with water reclamation and photovoltaic technology. Well done. I can see how this can be mass produced and set in thousands of places across America, Europe, and Asia…

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  • mark

    Very thorough design and execution.

  • enrico

    Oh, what a gorgeous little place to stay !

  • Rachmadi Triatmojo

    Very good design !