Collaborators: Jonathan & Victoria Watts, Owners
Structural Engineer: Lawrence Ho
Builder: Hunter Leggitt Studio
Site Area: 8,630 SF
Text description provided by the architects. In 2011, Hunter Leggitt Studio temporarily relocated from Los Angeles to the high desert near Lake Isabella, CA to design and build a custom, highly crafted, modern cabin. Designed to regularly sleep it’s family of 5, but also be flexible enough to comfortably host a total of 10 guests, the 510 Cabin serves as a tranquil and compact weekend retreat for the client, a busy Santa Monica-based family.
Responding to strict budget limitations and the studio’s interest to create what it called a Design/Build/+ educational experience, partially inspired by Samuel Mockbee’s Rural Studio, HLS opened the construction effort up to student apprentices. Posting a simple flyer on several architectural job boards, the studio received hundreds of applications from architecture students all over the world. Requiring only a tool belt, tape measure, hammer, and great attitude, the studio selected seven students with little to no formal experience to move out to the jobsite and help build the project.
Teaching and simultaneously conducting 70% of the building trades, the studio was not only able to deliver a uniquely crafted custom project for a fraction of the conventional construction price, but was more importantly able to create a legacy learning experience and story for the young apprentices.