Yingst Retreat by David Salmela Architect


The retreat rests on a quiet 16 acre site amongst a tall, dense beech forest that descends to lakeshore. The orientation of the building magnifies this slope and places equal value on views to the trees and the water.

Entering the site you are met by four separate black-clad structures which separates the prosaic functions of a garage. Beyond stands the house with white masonry bookend facades and sidewalls of exposed wood columns mirroring the forest parallel.

The repetition of the glulam columns entices you along a colonnade to the front entry. Contrary to the predominately black exterior, you enter at a midlevel to a lighter wood-lined hall. Morning and evening light fill the space and the rhythmic wood structure provides an open plan with telescoping spaces flowing into and overlooking each other.

Given the clients are avid chefs the bright red kitchen is the central communal area. Dividing the kitchen from the above living area is a white-painted masonry fireplace which makes a connection to the outdoor chimney standing sentinel on the West patio, further diminishing the line between inside and outside.

The sleeping area recedes past the living room with additional rooms located in the above mezzanine.  In the distance there is a stand-alone masonry sauna with sod roof and a black sculpture marking the bocce court.  Despite its openness, the retreat retains an intimate feel, a mystery, stimulating the imagination in both intellectual and emotional ways.

Architects: David Salmela Architect
Location: Michigan, Michigan, USA
Architect In Charge: David Salmela
Area: 4,000 sqft
Year: 2008
Photographs: Undine Prohl, Peter Kerze, Paul Crosby


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