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Great Falls

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Project Description

2006 CHDA
Accessory Building / Grand Award

A diminutive 196 square feet in plan, this simple pavilion makes a big statement about the power of architecture to enhance an already special environment. The 5 acres of tree-dotted fields it shares with a recent Craftsman-style house also encompass a small, picturesque pond. The owners always loved that spot. But without a shelter in which to linger, says architect Robert Gurney, “there was no reason to go down there.” With little more than a pickup-load of materials (plus a pile of rocks for the chimney), Gurney supplied that and more. His pavilion seems to float above the landscape, its light steel frame contrasting with a massive stone chimney that suggests the remnant of a long-lost building. A steep hip roof gives the tiny building a significant presence in the landscape. Details, which include flush ipe decking and an exposed fir-and-mahogany roof structure, reflect a stringent simplicity of design and precise execution.

The net effect, which combines openness and a sheltering sense of enclosure, can be grasped at a glance, and our judges were just as quickly captivated. “The sweetest little piece of architecture. It's perfect,” remarked one. “It's proportioned beautifully,” noted another. And, perhaps the highest praise of all: “I wish I had done that.”
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