Design Award Entries

Grist Mill Cabin

The Grist Mill Cabin is a carefully situated lakeside retreat in Northwest Arkansas designed to minimize disturbance to the wooded hillside and blend with the surrounding environment along the shores of Beaver Lake. The multiple volumes of the cabin, constructed with a simple palette of metal panel and Arkansas-sourced cypress, provide ample space for gathering while capturing views, respecting the land, and creating a tree house oasis in the Ozarks.

Project Statement

The Grist Mill Cabin is deftly perched on a three-acre site along Beaver Lake in Northwest Arkansas. The multiple volumes of the design specifically sought to avoid mass disturbance of the natural hillside and flora while providing ample space for family and guests to gather within the metal panel and Arkansas-sourced Cypress forms. The deconstructed lakehouse typology blends with nature while capturing views and maintaining respect for the land.

The home is carefully sited with special consideration given to the views, natural features, and topography. The design process included an in-depth analysis of options for occupying the quintessential Ozark hillside with as much tree preservation as possible and minimal soil disturbance. The open layout takes full advantage of strong indoor/outdoor relationships. The materials are of a simple, yet rich palette of natural cypress and crisp corrugated metal composed in a modern format appropriate for lakeside living.

The entry procession to the house begins with an angular bridge that disembarks from the hill and lands one at the covered deck in a dogtrot arrangement of spaces where constellation lighting accents the warm cypress surfaces and frames a stunning view to the lake. The deck is purposefully placed beside the main living area so that spaces do not compete for a view to the water from the hillside perch. From the covered deck, one can move southwest toward guest bedroom pods and to the trail and lake beyond, or northeast into the main living, kitchen, and dining area. Beyond the social spaces, another small interior bridge accesses the master bedroom pod...a tree house oasis in the Ozarks.

The striking forms of the entire home dance playfully on the hillside floating on thin steel columns. The pod typology allows each portion of the building to react and shift according to the conditions of the site topography and existing flora. Additionally, the natural landscape of the Ozark hillside can slide under the structure, strengthening the relationship and contrast between manmade forms and the natural world.