Lookout House / Faulkner Architects

The building site had a significant influence on the design of this house. Layered with intense geologic history at the base of a three-million-year-old volcano, the site is a north-facing 20-degree slope with equal parts refuge and prospect at 6,300 feet above mean sea level. Consisting of volcanic sediment from ancient flows and strewn with boulders up to 15 feet in diameter, the site is in an open stand of second-growth Jeffrey Pine and White Fir trees. The vertical, plumb lines of the tree trunks, stripped bare from years of deep snowfall, reach for the light. Standing upright at an angle to the slope, they provide a constant reference to the perpendicular horizon in the distance. The harsh winters leave the ground sparse yet partially covered with a mat of pine needles and cones. Large waist-high clusters of manzanita group together and climb the slope in an organic, opportunistic pattern.