About This Project

Unbuilt /

Mount Zion Ranch

Design Year: 2010
Program: 7,000 sf lodge and 3,000 sf family home
Beinfield Project Team: Bruce Beinfield FAIA, James Wassell, Andrew Bartolotta AIA, Dylan Wassell

Awards & Honors:
2012 American Institute of Architects, Connecticut Chapter
Drawing Award, Hand Drawn Category – Unbuilt, given to James S. Wassell

This project in its unbuilt state is about process and journey. Meant to be a weekend retreat, the clients seek to recreate something of the committed idealism they experienced in the 1960’s, and to expose their children to the possibilities and richness they found in communal life. It also seeks to tap into the special energy that the site manifests in order to restore a frayed relationship to the natural world.

The three underlying patterns found in nature are guiding principles for the project:

The Spiral: the infinite cosmos expanding from its impossible center, always searching and moving outward

The Meander: the uncertainty and inevitability of water and human life

The Branch: individual parts and the whole, connections and family, growth and renewal.

The program encompasses a communal lodge, a single-family residence and a pool. A simple palette of weathered Cor-ten steel, wood, green roofs, glass and stone is employed to blur the boundaries between inside and out. A traditional kiva brings in the element of fire. Water is central with large roof forms funneling to a cistern while the pool connotes immersion and rebirth. Order is a starting point and the chaos of entropy then runs through like a river.

The project is an exploration of the unending magic inherent in nature: growth and renewal, decay and erosion, one thing never immutable, always becoming something else. It embraces order and upheaval, the mythical and mundane. Images of ruin are evoked consciously, inspired by patterns drawn from earlier civilizations that employed methods of construction and of living now nearly lost. Dreams, memories and rituals become part of everyday life.

In a constant tug between buildability and ideas, forms are kept simple. Regional vernacular, however, is left behind, along with the safety of tradition, the better to inspire questioning and exploration.

AIA CT award winners, Architects, architectural design, best architects in CT, best architects in New England, CT Architects, FAIA architects in CT, live work spaces