A&H Architecture

Simple Structures on the Edges of Nature

Posted on: Aug 20, 2015 Blog author: Christine Blog category: Context & Meaning

As we approach the tail end of summer, there are limited warm days left to sit out on the screened porch. Always my favorite room in the house, this is a place that is both inside and outside at the same time, giving you the pleasure of being sheltered while also being caressed by breezes. A place to sit undercover while the rain pours down. Bugs, animals, and blowing leaves are kept out. I am fascinated by the meaning even the simplest structures give to a place, as shelter is stripped away of more and more components.

This bird blind overlooking the Baltic Sea, creates a simple shelter from which to observe nature while not being seen. It is walls and roof with openings, but no floor.

Even more pared down, the dock is simply an uncovered platform extending out into the water, a safe place from which to feel the sensation of being on a boat without leaving the shore.

A picnic table in the Stockholm archipelago has a similar space defining quality, creating a platform for the ritual of sharing a meal in nature.

And simplest of all, the boardwalk through a marsh; a linear platform allowing safe passage through unstable ground without damaging the natural habitat.

A hearth in the Boundary Waters, carefully constructed of uncut stone, creates just the right shelter for the fire from the wind, defining through simple means a place to gather in the peaceful setting of the wilderness.

The quality of being on the edge between sheltered and exposed is what we are hoping to achieve with this current project for a boathouse which is nearing completion in Northern Minnesota. Perched on the edge of a lake, its simple form lightly inhabits the shoreline, providing temporary shelter and a place to feel protected yet connected to the wonder of nature.