Design Award Entries

Tanglewood Cabin

Nestled along a remote bluff overlooking Beaver Lake in the Ozark Mountains, the Tanglewood Cabin is a weekend retreat designed to eventually become a full-time residence. By transforming a vernacular approach, the cabin becomes a modern, comfortable, and timeless home that engages the surrounding landscape, balancing prospect and refuge, filled with daylight and powerful views.

Project Statement

Nestled along a remote bluff overlooking Beaver Lake in the Ozark Mountains, the Tanglewood Cabin is a weekend retreat designed to eventually become a full-time residence. The cabin is born of a desire to engage the surrounding landscape while offering security and shelter, balancing prospect and refuge. The steep one-and-a-half-acre lot has an average slope of over 40%, except for a small terrace where the cabin sits. The cabin overlooks an 80-foot drop to the lake below, sited to carefully frame views of the lake and surrounding forest.

The cabin is a stoic mass in the landscape, with a restrained material palette and strategically composed openings, mainly directed towards the lake. The cabin draws inspiration from the dogtrot typology, arraying the interior family functions around a central porch, forming a ‘U’ shape. The volume and form of the cabin are the direct result of the plan, shaped to conform to the site, projecting slightly over the edge of the slope. The broad south face emphasizes the orientation of the cabin to Beaver Lake, re-presenting the rugged beauty of the Ozarks and offering a respite within the secluded landscape. A slight inflection in the southern edge emphasizes the location and importance of the living area.

The simple plan is wrapped in a dark shell that provides a mysterious, quiet elevation upon arrival, except for a generous entry porch that introduces the material logic. The sides and rear of the cabin are clad in locally sourced cypress with a charred finish, providing a durable, low-maintenance exterior for the remote cabin. The roof and remaining face that overlooks the lake are clad in metal panels, as they naturally have limited access for maintenance. The finish of the metal panels recalls the sheen and quality of light of the water below, eventually giving way to floor to ceiling glass and a large, carved porch.

The porch and adjacent bedroom are clad in clear cypress, clearly establishing the difference between the dark, stoic exterior shell, and the rich, warm interior. The cypress ceiling expands throughout the interior but breaks to create a more expansive section as the cabin moves towards the lake. Generous spans of glass fold in from the southern façade, connecting the living and dining area to the porch, and ensuring natural light reaches deep into the cabin.

In this compact footprint, every space is used, so circulation spaces are enlarged to become flexible spaces for the life of the home to be celebrated, whether work or play. Along these spaces, carefully composed windows frame dynamic views and bring in soft daylight. Each window is calculated to present views both near and far of the Ozark landscape.

The Tanglewood Cabin transforms a classic, vernacular approach, bending it to create a modern, comfortable, and timeless home. The mystery of the dark exterior quickly gives way to a warm, airy interior with beautiful views and abundant daylight. In an intense and extremely steep landscape, the Tanglewood Cabin is a moment of balance, calming and quiet.

AIA Arkansas