Dry Creek Outbuildings

Northern California

1 / 8 – Photo credit: Nic Lehoux
“These simply organized structures, a cottage and an office, replace pre-existing buildings that were structurally compromised and in serious disrepair. Rebuilding these small structures allowed for the introduction of a clear relationship between the buildings, better response to the spectacular site and improved functionality.”



The structures sit at the edge of a creek, between the public world of the entry drive and private world of the forested creek. Solid, weathered cedar-clad boxes containing service spaces face the entry drive while the more private glazed living areas open up to the stream.

Delicate ribbon windows are strategically placed in the simple façades, providing views, introducing light and maintaining privacy where required. The weathered cedar skin wraps inside the buildings, then peels away to reveal the Douglas fir siding and structure. Vertical grain Douglas fir rafters project from the cedar boxes, extending outwards and drawing one’s eye towards the tangled oaks and moss-covered rocks of the active creek. The Douglas fir siding and structure provide warmth to the glass boxes, generating a gentle glow in the evening hours.

The wood-clad service elements shield the living spaces from direct afternoon sun, minimizing thermal load where occupants spend most of their time. Supplementing the natural shading strategies, well-placed operable doors and windows encourage cross ventilation, taking advantage of evaporative cooling from the prevailing breezes along the surface of the creek. High efficiency in-slab radiant heating systems warm these two structures in the cooler winter months.

Project Data

Northern California
2005 – 2007
750 sf


Honor Award
American Architecture Award
Design Award, Custom Residences Category
Merit Award for Excellence in Architecture