Adirondack Retreat

Lake George, New York

1 / 7 – Photo credit: Karl A. Backus
“This house was notable for its careful siting, skillful execution, and appropriate sense of style. It is a sympathetic presence in the wooded landscape which surrounds it. Like their lodges or camps, a building type upon which this house is based, natural materials are used to heighten one's perceptions of a rustic environment.”
AIA New York Jury



A vacation residence, a separate garage, and a boathouse are arranged on a steeply sloped, forested site at the edge of a mountain lake in upstate New York. The buildings are in the spirit of the Adirondack Great Camps, which, though generally thought of as indigenous, were in fact derived from Japanese and European alpine traditions. The architecture delves into the emotive potential of the materials and the connections between the natural and the man made.

On approach, roof planes and stone chimneys are visible through pine and hemlock. The slightly angled main entrance on the upper level inflects toward the visitor and is marked by a gable of over-scaled logs. The entry leads through a forest of cedar columns toward a massive granite fireplace which rises through the structure and dominates the central living spaces. Light from high clerestory windows streams down through timber framing into the upper level. Tree columns, red pine bark siding, and rustic stick work engage in a dialogue with the surroundings. The house becomes analogous to the forest, its stone base rising out of the hillside and tree columns extending upward toward a lead-coated copper roof which softly reflects the sky.

Project Data

Lake George, New York
1987 – 1992
4,000 sf


Tucker Award for Design Excellence
Excellence in Design Award
Honor Award
Grand Award for Design
Design Award