Launch Slideshow

A freestanding fireplace is one of several "events" that foster an active engagement with the landscape.

Yingst Retreat

Yingst Retreat

  • A freestanding fireplace is one of several "events" that foster an active engagement with the landscape.

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    A freestanding fireplace is one of several "events" that foster an active engagement with the landscape.

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    Peter Bastianelli-Kerze

    A freestanding fireplace is one of several "events" that foster an active engagement with the landscape.

  • A trellised walkway guides visitor's to the main house's entry.

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    A trellised walkway guides visitor's to the main house's entry.

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    Peter Bastianelli-Kerze

    A trellised walkway guides visitor's to the main house's entry.

  • Four boxlike structures--three garages and a workshop--stand sentry duty between the parking area and the entry court.

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    Four boxlike structures--three garages and a workshop--stand sentry duty between the parking area and the entry court.

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    Peter Bastianelli-Kerze

    Four boxlike structures--three garages and a workshop--stand sentry duty between the parking area and the entry court.

  • The project's site plan.

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    The project's site plan.

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    Courtesy SALMELA Architect

    The project's site plan.

  • The house steps down toward the lakeshore, following the slope of the site.

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    The house steps down toward the lakeshore, following the slope of the site.

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    Peter Bastianelli-Kerze

    The house steps down toward the lakeshore, following the slope of the site.

  • The stair combines massive timber elements with a slatted screen that seems to float above the floor.

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    The stair combines massive timber elements with a slatted screen that seems to float above the floor.

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    Peter Bastianelli-Kerze

    The stair combines massive timber elements with a slatted screen that seems to float above the floor.

  • An abstract viewing pavilion overlooks the bocce court.

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    An abstract viewing pavilion overlooks the bocce court.

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    Souliyahn Keobounpheng

    An abstract viewing pavilion overlooks the bocce court.

  • Exposed columns and laminated beams set a visual rhythm.

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    Exposed columns and laminated beams set a visual rhythm.

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    Peter Bastianelli-Kerze

    Exposed columns and laminated beams set a visual rhythm.

  • Dubbed by one judge "the Mystery Critter," the viewing pavilion rises to the level of habitable sculpture.

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    Dubbed by one judge "the Mystery Critter," the viewing pavilion rises to the level of habitable sculpture.

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    Souliyahn Keobounpheng

    Dubbed by one judge "the Mystery Critter," the viewing pavilion rises to the level of habitable sculpture.

  • The maintains the rhythm of the house's main structural frame.

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    The maintains the rhythm of the house's main structural frame.

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    Peter Bastianelli-Kerze

    The entry trellis maintains the rhythm of the house's main structural frame.

  • The project's floor plans.

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    The project's floor plans.

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    Courtesy SALMELA Architect

    The project's floor plans.

salmela architect, duluth, minn.

Surprising as it may seem, the requirements that gave rise to the Yingst Retreat were rather conventional: lots of light, room for guests, a view of the lake. “The program was pretty normal,” says architect David D. Salmela, FAIA. The result, however, is an intriguing compound that combines elements of dwelling, environmental sculpture, and installation art.

A deliberately direct driveway plunges to an entry court populated by four obscure, coal-black boxes: three garages and a workshop. The workshop steps out of line with its partners, opening a narrow passage to an inner courtyard and the house.

The house brackets its barlike length between end walls of white masonry that Salmela likens to “white swans on black water.” An exposed structure of laminated columns marches the length of the building, which steps downhill toward the lake. Terracelike levels define spaces both indoors and outdoors, where sculptural elements—a freestanding chimney, a sauna, and a pavilion one judge dubbed “the Mystery Critter”—draw one out into the landscape.

Our judges were taken with the project’s “moody, lyrical” quality, calling the scheme “abstract yet functional.” As one noted, the insertion of built forms into the natural environment “integrates play and discovery on the site.”


Project Credits
principal in charge / project architect: David D.Salmela, FAIA, SALMELA Architect, www.salmelaarchitect.com
general contractor: James Anderson, James Anderson Builders, Maple City, Mich.
landscape architect: Shane Coen, ASLA, Coen+Partners, Minneapolis
project size: 3,661 square feet
site size: 10 acres
construction cost: $429 per square foot
photography: Peter Bastianelli-Kerze, except where noted

Product Details
bathroom and kitchen cabinets: Architectural Elements of Michigan www.aemichigan.com; bathroom and kitchen fittings: Dornbracht Americas www.dornbracht.com; bathroom fixtures: Neptune www.bainsneptune.com, TOTO USA www.totousa.com; cooktop, oven/range: Wolf Appliance www.wolfappliance.com; dishwasher: ASKO North America www.askousa.com; doors, windows: Loewen www.loewen.com; exterior siding: Richlite Co. (Skatelite) www.skatelite.com; flooring (carpet): InterfaceFLOR www.flor.com; flooring (ceramic tile/stone/concrete): Evergreen Slate Co. www.evergreenslate.com; framing: PorterCorp (PorterSIPs) www.portersips.com, Timberweld www.timberweld.com; garage doors: Clopay Building Products Co. www.clopay.com; hardware: Häfele America Co. www.hafele.com/us; hvac equipment: GeoFurnace Heating & Cooling www.geofurnace.com; kitchen fixtures: Julien www.julien.ca; lighting fixtures: Cooper Lighting (Halo) www.haloltg.com, Crescent/Stonco www.stoncolighting.com, Moooi www.moooi.com; paints/stains/wall finishes: BioShield Paint Co. www.bioshieldpaint.com; refrigerator: The Liebherr Group www.liebherr-appliances.com; stove: NIPPA Sauna Stoves www.nippa.com; skylights/roof windows: VELUX-America www.velux.com

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