It’s easy to see how inspiration takes hold in ‘Watershed’ – a 100 square foot writer’s retreat in Oregon that is as sustainable as it is engaging. Commissioned by a well-known nature writer and designed by FLOAT architectural research and design, this small-scale project fulfills its intention of revealing the surrounding ecology while allowing observation without disturbance. Completely recyclable and constructed with an ultra-light footprint, ‘Watershed’ does well by its name.

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From the studio, visitors can view riparian wetlands that are part of an ecological restoration project along Mary’s River. Underfoot, small tunnels invite the smallest wetland creatures – rare reptiles and amphibians – into study through a floor-level window. Birds and deer congregate at the studio’s front step which serves double function as a water collection basin.

‘Watershed’ is at home in the natural setting, but only as a result of careful intention. For example, the owner requested a roof that “would let her hear rain falling.” Erin Moore of FLOAT architecture answered the call adding the free flow cascade that fills the front step basin. The water reflects silhouettes of visiting woodland creatures into the structure creating not only an audible perception of rain, but a visual connection between water and nature.

Even more remarkable than its engagement with setting is the way the studio arrived. Most of the prefabricated parts were walked to the site for assembly, except the steel frame which was factory built and dropped in one piece by a track drive front loader. All connections are reversible and all components can be removed for reuse or recycling should the studio find an end to its use.

While we love the fact that the building can be easily dismantled without a trace, we can’t think of a reason to ever take it down.