Mom's Retreat / Forrest Fulton Architecture

Mom's Retreat / Forrest Fulton Architecture

A few days ago, we shared Forrest Fulton‘s Lace Hill proposal for Armenia, and tonight we share the firm’s idea for a retreat that creates two distinct meditative spaces through its relationships to the landscape. A floating wooden deck and a small, dimly lit enclosure,which is sunken into the ground, intend to respond to one another as a way to “intensify a spiritual experience of the place.”

More about the retreat after the break.

The retreat’s position in the woods allows the mother to escape from her hectic daily routine to a secluded resting space. The mother became attached to an unusually large dogwood tree that she called her “prayer stump”. With this in mind, the architect conceived a spatial model of a boat, “a small, protective, introspective space of a boat’s hull below an expansive floating space of a boat’s deck.”

The enclosed hull is a 7 feet wide, 8 feet long space half-sunken into the earth.   With three small windows to frame views into the landscape, the space is meant to offer a feeling of serene enclosure.  Stucco CMU walls continue into the ground, embracing the earth and the visitor.

The second element, the floating wooden deck, is cantilevered over the landscape.   Two trees puncture the deck as a way to mark a threshold condition, and once the user stands at the end of this point, she finds herself approximately 10’ above the ground with no hint as to how the deck is supported.

A number of restrictive construction conditions influenced the design and the assembly methods.  The site is isolated with no electricity, so materials had to be  pre-cut and then assembled on site.

Location: Marbury, Alabama


Construction Completed: 2000

Cost: $1500(Some material reused. Labor not accounted for)

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Cite: Karen Cilento. "Mom's Retreat / Forrest Fulton Architecture" 09 May 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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