Humble natural materials and modern sensibilities combine in Camp O, a light-filled house-studio nestled in the middle of the Catskills’ preserve. Designed by New York City-based designer Maria Milans del Bosch as a private getaway for herself and her husband, the holiday home pays homage to the local vernacular with a distinctly contemporary twist. The forested landscape also inspired the home, which is wrapped in a cedar rain screen treated with the Japanese charring technique “Shou Sugi Ban.”
Carefully placed on an existing clearing to minimize site impact, the 2,190-square-foot Camp O takes cues from the local vernacular architecture for its palette of low-maintenance natural materials, such as the concrete foundation, wood siding, plywood sheathing, wood stud walls, beams and joists, and metal double-pitched roof. Where the home differs from the neighboring barns and cabins is in how those materials are combined to create a sculptural geometric abode defined by natural light, clean lines and minimalism.
The charred cedar facade that gives the home its contemporary appeal also protects the building from water, fire and insects and doesn’t require maintenance. Sustainability is further integrated into the design through the strategic orientation of the home for natural ventilation and optimal sun exposure to minimize energy consumption. Insulation was placed outside the building envelope to maximize interior comfort and to allow the interior elements to remain exposed. Bathed in natural light from multiple directions, the airy home appears to change throughout the day and seasons.
“At Camp O, the dialogue between the stereotomic and the tectonic together with its haptic qualities transcend the mere appearance of the technical in much the same way as its place-form withstands the passing of time rooting the building into the Nature that surrounds it,” explained the architect in a press release. “The building becomes a resonance box that intensifies the experience of the outdoors indoors: Its insertion into the site, its volumetry and its materiality express the site’s calling into matter.”
Images © Montse Zamorano