house for a musher is situated on a 20 acre plot surrounded by small lakes at the edge of untouched wilderness of interior alaska. the site is on a hill, left behind by the forces of the glacial moraine landscape. the highest peak in north america, mount mckinley, dominates the view to the north.
the client is a professional dog musher, a 4-time champion of the iditarod, a 1,161 mile sled dog race. the family of four desired a “not so big house” and a view of “the” mountain from every room.
the design for the house is organized in an L-shape with a common space centered on the view toward the alaska mountain range with denali as a focal point. carefully selected locations for wall openings frame specific views. the bedroom wing extends to the west.
the 2,450 sf house is complimented by a large outdoor court-yard and an accessible roof terrace. the courtyard provides relief from the overwhelmingly expansive natural setting, creating a wind sheltered space with sounds of trickling water and the warmth of a fire .
the roof terrace offers uninterrupted views of the spectacular landscape and a show of the northern hemisphere sky at night with frequent display of the aurora borealis.the owner mostly built the house by himself. the materiality of the house is simple and durable:
local alaskan yellow cedar cladding, a very durable and aromatic wood, lines the interior of the main volume in the house. charred wood siding for the exterior cladding was used for several reasons: a long lasting, traditional low maintenance finish and as reference to wildfires that happen in the area frequently.
some sustainable design considerations include a heat recovery ventilation system, triple pane glazing and a double furring wall for the exterior walls.
aia alaska honor award 2010
aia northwest and pacific region honor award 2011
klaus mayer, petra sattler-smith
jim loftus, pdc engineers
photos by kevin g. smith