Camp O is a house-studio in the Catskills, New York where living and working spaces coexist in a single building that reinterprets the local vernacular architecture.
The materials and elements are the same than in neighboring barns, houses and cabins; but they are treated, assembled and organized with a contemporary approach, becoming the basis of the design and perception of the house.
The result is a combination of humble materials with minimum detailing that require minimum maintenance, weather naturally and change through time in tune with the surrounding woods.
The design is rooted in the modern tradition but, at the same time, it is tied to its geographical and cultural context. It seeks to mediate between the global and the local languages of architecture. The value of this project is placed on materials, topography, climate and light. The end result talks to all senses as nature informs the experience inside the house.
Camp O reinterprets the local vernacular architecture. The materials and elements are the same than in neighboring barns, houses and cabins (concrete foundation, wood siding, plywood sheathing, wood stud walls, beams and joists, metal double-pitched roof); the difference is how they are treated, assembled and organized, becoming the basis of the design and perception of the house. The result is a combination of humble materials with minimum detailing that require minimum maintenance, weather naturally and change through time in tune with the surrounding woods.
Standard wood sheathing dimensions (1.2 x 2.4m) are utilized to establish the structural rhythm, A,B,A (1.2, 2.4, 1.1m), and since the thermal insulation is a continuous layer on the exterior side, this rhythm guides the placing of openings, interior partitions, floor layout, shelving, lighting, etc. resulting in a harmonic overall volume and simpler construction.
The design incorporates foreign techniques and materials enhancing the building’s performance. Insulation is applied to the exterior side of walls and roof, resulting in a continuous layer of insulation that minimizes thermal bridges. The charred cedar rain screen requires minimal maintenance and its texture tunes in with the woods around it. The kitchen, second story floors and all bathrooms’ surfaces are covered with Viroc, a composite material made of cement and wood fiber encompassing good thermal lag, water resistance and little expansion and contraction through time, key qualities to get the most out of the house’s radiant floor system and wet rooms.
The design decomposes the traditional double-pitched roof adjusting the building’s footprint to the existing clearing and slopes and minimizing the impact of construction in the surrounding woods. The roof ridges are on the East and West walls of the house (as opposed to on the center of the building), efficiently opening views to the valley and woods, and maximizing sunlight and ventilation in the interior of the house.
At Camp O, the dialogue between the stereotomic and the tectonic together with its haptic qualities transcend the mere appearance of the technical in much the same way as its place-form withstands the passing of time rooting the building into the Nature that surrounds it.