Larson Bergquist

Larson Bergquist

The retreat is sited near Taconite Harbor where the boreal forest meets the exposed bedrock of Lake Superior shoreline. The utmost character of the project reveals the predominance of place. There is a sense of old and new, an ageing beauty in the materials that reflect both permanence and impermanence. It is an encounter of something unexpected, of things that are in opposition.

Arriving at the site a garage and elongated storage shed to house kayaks form the stone entrance path. Clad with black paper-resin composite, repetitive cedar battens provide each otherwise stealth structure a sense of scale, warmth and resemble adjacent birch tree-trunks. Once on the path, the main building, courtyard and sauna come into view. Native grasses encroach on the path from the sides and through the gaps in random sized stone pavers. Descending and passing through a gap in a low stone wall you enter the court. To the right is a traditional white-washed masonry sauna with outdoor baking oven. The purity of white upon closer examination reveals the texture of the masonry and heightens the slight imperfections embodied in the construction. Ahead stands a L-shaped unchimney which defines the corner of the outdoor gathering area. The residual soot patterns mark the visual, auditory, olfactory stimulation from the presence of fires previous. Permanent outdoor furniture suggests uses related to the outdoor oven, unchimney and sauna.

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