Williams Cabin - Durango, Colorado 

(completed 2005) 

contractor: Steve Kawell, Durango

structural engineer: Garth Glasco, Goff Engineering, Durango


(photo by Mika Fowler)


(photo by Gunnar Conrad)



Image of Wall-E suggestive of how cabin's two "eyes" lend the cabin an anthropomorphic quality.



Examples of historical works of architecture utilizing symmetrical, double doors. (top: St. Foy Church in Conques, France, middle: Crown Hall by Mies van der Rhoe, bottom: the Villa Snellman by Gunnar Asplund)Paradoxical Symmetries by Robin Evans was a formulative text for me.  In short, instead of one central door two doors can create a more complex central axis.



(top: Tristan Tsara House by Adolf Loos, middle: elementary school by Aldo Rossi, bottom: the Villa Schwob by Le Corbusier).  To be clear, in no way am I trying to position the cabin amongst these masterworks on the essay of two doors.  The cabin design was merely, subtly influenced by the essay. 


Elevation and section.


Sliding resin doors to bath areas (photo by Mika Fowler, left)


Sliding resin doors to toilet area (photo by Mika Fowler)




(photo by Mika Fowler)


(photo by Mika Fowler)


(photo by Mika Fowler)


(photo by Mika Fowler)




Section and elevation of cabin. Note, the width of the interior of the cabin matches the width of the open, covered deck.  Recessing the base (in an area with snow loads) required a significant steel floor structure to accomplish.


Steel foundation framing required for large snow loads at 4,500 feet above sea level.




Photo montage with plexi and basswood model. (model by Kelsey Brennan)


Detail of "serrated, aluminum bar grating" stair tread.


Plexi and basswood model. (model and photo by Kelsey Brennan)


(photo by Mika Fowler)


View of glacial valley (and house site) that runs North from Durango, Colorado.


The rear, horizontal window is recessed a bit from the outer face of the exterior wall.  This recess is expressed on the ends in order to heighten the linearity of it.  


The front deck void also has a similar linearity which runs north-south as a subtle reference to the glacial valley which also runs north south.


This photo was taken by, Gunnar Conrad, a well-established, commercial photographer that happens to be located in Durango, Colorado.  His charge was to "take a single photograph of the cabin at sunset" for a small piece in Dwell magazine, and this is the resulting shot.  




View of rear, horizontal windows with steel shutters installed.  Here they are laid down in the open position.  The shutters in combination with other construction techniques are intended to make the cabin as fire-resistant as possible given the local threats.


(photo by Mika Fowler)


Though there are a variety of higher-end materials in this small cabin, the floors are actually, simply painted structural plywood with filled seams.  The integral kitchen sink are Lithistone, a locally produced, sustainable counter material. The cast iron tub was also locally salvaged and refinished.  Walls are an artisanal mud plaster. (photo by Mika Fowler)


The deck edging as shown in these photos required a bit of complex detailing and construction in order to have the composite decking material die into the back of the stucco edge.  This was accomplished by means of a structural steel edging at the top of the stucco to form a rigid edge.  (photos by Mika Fowler)


Interior paneling from locally-sourced aspen wood.  Cantilevered work surface, bed and stools milled from trees felled on property during construction of entry road. All structural plywood and interior paints are non-voc. (photo by Mika Fowler)


Salvaged faucet at integral bath basin (left). Salvaged and refinished claw foot tub from local source (right).


Steel shutters at front doors in closed position.


The Williams Cabin featured in a new book, Nano House (Thames & Hudson, 2011)

The Williams Cabin featured in a new book, the New Modern House (Laurence King, 2011)


The Williams Cabin wins a 2010 Sunset Western Home Award.


The Williams Cabin featured in the May, 2008 issue of Dwell.