Mom’s Retreat

Mom’s Retreat

Architect
Forrest Fulton Architecture
Location
Marbury, United States
Project Year
2000
Category
Individual Buildings

Mom’s Retreat

Forrest Fulton Architecture as Architects

The retreat creates two distinct meditative spaces through its relationships to the landscape. The first, a floating wooden deck measures the falling forest floor below. The second, a small, dimly lit enclosure sinks through the ground. Both intensify a spiritual experience of the place.


I discovered that my mom was going to a secluded spot in the woods to escape from her daily routine. She found an old and unusually large dogwood tree, where she sat on a section of log, her “prayer stump”. A treeless space on the other side of the small hill suggested possibilities for additional retreat-like spaces. The situation suggested the spatial model of a boat: a small, protective, introspective space of a boat’s hull below an expansive floating space of a boat’s deck. Enclosed “Hull” The hull is a 7 feet wide, 8 feet long space half-sunken into the earth. Three small windows frame views into the landscape. A light chimney filters light into the space. The stucco CMU walls of the hull continue into the ground, embrace the earth and the visitor . The light chimney and the wood-framed, tin roof complete the enclosure. Floating “Deck” The bisecting deck is cantilevered over the landscape producing the floating, experience. Two trees puncture the deck forming a threshold to the end. At the end you are standing approximately 10’ above the ground with no apparent clue as to how the deck is supported.


Construction A number of restrictive construction conditions influenced the design and the assembly methods. The site is isolated with no electricity, so materials had to be pre-cut and then assembled on site. I devised other creative construction techniques to construct the project on my own. Concrete, mortar, and stucco were mixed on site. Cost was kept to a minimum by using common materials such as CMU, wood, and tin.

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