This highly personal and customized project by the architect-owner became a site for exploration and play. We followed every intuition about details that might contribute to the space, hoping to stay just this side of ‘too-much.’ What unites the disparate details of this addition is a sense of movement, craft, and nature.
The only ‘logical’ choice for the roof of the dovecote was a traditional standing seam metal roof. It is cost-effective, fire-resistant, and innocuous. But thanks to Brian Cutright of Cutright Construction, and his push to keep exploring more creative solutions, we developed the ‘feather’ roof out of the exact same metal materials at half the cost. We shingled the roof in custom water jet cut shingles inspired by bird feathers. To maximize the use of the sheet material, we developed a feather shape that could nest together on the sheet with minimal waste.
Miga, Juan, Misa, Derek, and Jaime of Cutright Construction.
Pull Me Closer
From the architect and owner:
The year I was born, the Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto, created a bronze door handle for a bookstore in Helsinki –ergonomic, organic, and wrapped in leather. In 1992, on a research trip to Finland, I finally pulled it. The Pull Me Closer (aka Push Me Away) handles are an ode to Aalto’s modern but inviting approach. We modeled the shape digitally after multiple failed wood and clay prototypes. A local foundry took our 3D-printed plastic forms and created a mold to cast them in bronze. We then bound them in leather strapping, using a traditional Manchurian sword-hilt wrapping technique (and far too many hours of YouTube videos).
Bridge of Minor Disturbances
The traditional Japanese aesthetic of Wabi-sabi acknowledges the beauty of imperfection. This small bridge across the entry courtyard to the dovecote explores this idea with a small stone of personal significance wedged between the laminated cedar slats –which were upcycled offcuts from the siding material. This minor disturbance then has a far greater ripple effect, bulging it at its center. The stone appears both to be held by the slats and to hold them apart, creating an odd tension and somewhat mysterious glimpse onto the ground below.
A flock of starlings in flight is known as a murmuration –named for the sound the bird’s wings make en masse. The photographer and artist Richard Barnes kindly supplied an image from his Murmur series of images of these flocks, from which we made the Murmuration Drape. We divided the image into five unique panels and printed them on sheer silk. We then reassembled the images, creating a fluttering threshold to, and backdrop for, the dovecote.