Forest House

West Cornwall, Connecticut

1 / 3 – Photo credit: M. Thomas Arch. Photo
“...as well-conceived as one could imagine. ...tall and grand yet comfortably proportioned, it is rich in light and open to its glorious setting.... The entrance sequence is superbly controlled. The visitor walks along the bridge, down a few steps to an enclosed breezeway within the mass of the house.... Ahead is a glimpse of the two-story main living area, with the forest view beckoning through the huge industrial window.”
Paul Goldberger The New York Times Magazine

Process

Introduction

“An unusually sensitive and thoughtful house… Exciting spatial sequence to an imaginative plan opening to the heavily wooded site… If the house were removed, the site would be completely intact; an extremely sensitive approach to the intrusion with nature.”

— Jury comment, Connecticut Society of Architects

Photo credit: M. Thomas Arch. Photo

The Nature of Place

A forest retreat for Peter Bohlin’s parents, this small summer home is carefully sited at the strategic position between dark evergreens and bright deciduous woodland. As darkness shifts to liquid patterns of light, one experiences a rich unfolding from approach and entry to movement through the house. Camouflaged among the trees, the green-stained wood house hovers above a boulder-strewn landscape, resting on concrete piers. Rather than removing a large granite boulder or moving the building, a telling accommodation was made by scribing a platform to the boulder, psychologically anchoring the house in the landscape.

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Photo credit: M. Thomas Arch. Photo

The Nature of People

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Photo credit: Enrico Ferorelli

The Nature of Materials

There is great pleasure in modest means: the shimmering green tapestry of the forest seen through red industrial glazing; the poignancy of an operating sash with its subtle gray insect screen floating in the window wall; the rippling profile of an aluminum corrugated roof.

Responding to the cues and spirit of the landscape, the Forest House, in its simplicity of materials and form, is at once engaging and serene, elegant and comforting.

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Photo credit: M. Thomas Arch. Photo

Project Data

Location:
West Cornwall, Connecticut
Dates:
1973-1975
Size:
1,880 sf

Awards/Honors

1979
Citation for Excellence in Design
Homes for Better Living, First Honor Award
Design Award, Record Houses Awards Program
Honor Award
First Honor Award for Design Excellence