The 'Long Lodge' proposal for residential cabins along the Appalachian Trail, recently named the Honor Award Winner of the 2018 Maine Mass Timber Design Competition, highlights simple yet creative ways to spotlight the possibilities and natural beauty of timber as a construction material. The winning four-person design team created a lodge that not only serves as a temporary living space but rather becomes a memorable spatial experience through the effects of the structural design choices.
The sharp verticality of the native pines is juxtaposed with the striated horizontality of the lodge, emphasizing the otherworldliness of the site. The full elongation of the lodge is only revealed amidst the forest as visitors approach and near the site.
Encapsulating a subtle dynamism, the two upturned wings of the lodge appear to be readying for movement. The void featuring the Caribou Pond Trail in between the two zones integrate the moving water within the building while the evenly-spaced timber panels and trusses mimic the journey of walking through a dense forest in the wilderness. These sensations coupled with the iridescent glow of the light from the lodge make for an enigmatic experience.
Using glulam timber technology, the design features simple yet elegant maneuvers with the truss system. Though the building appears to have a single roof pitch on the exterior, the upside down truss creates two opposing slopes inside. With the ability to span large distances, the truss allows flexibility for the programs within the living wing. The void connecting the two wings acts as the central gathering porch accessible from both ends of the trail.
Using a four-foot module, the trusses and panels create a thick wall inside the living wing and a series of partition walls within the sleeping wing. The tectonics of the timber panels enables the creation of benches, booths, bookshelves, doorways, and closets to be tucked within the structure, allowing the living spaces to flow seamlessly and accentuate the linearity of the lodge. The sleeping wing adopts a similar strategy for creating corridor-free rooms of various sizes with their individual niche porches.
Several environmental considerations, such as site orientation and daylighting were optimized to highlight the natural beauty of the surroundings. Positioned on a north-south axis, the lodge is protected from the winter wind, while capturing the direct morning light. The central communal programs such as the library and the classroom face the southern side, taking advantage of the daylight. Furthermore, in this sustainable practice, the design aimed to minimize the number of trees that needed to be removed for construction.
The design showcases how the simplicity of timber can curate compelling spaces while being structurally-efficient and sustainable.
Winning Team Members
Yueqi ‘Jazzy’ Li, AIA (Design Lead)
Braham Berg, Associate AIA
News via: Maine Mass Timber Design Competition