Forest Glen Retreat


1 / 14 – Photo credit: Matt Wargo
“Balanced along a rock ledge that emerges from an evergreen thicket, this retreat embraces the natural and built worlds. A lightweight structure of steel, wood and glass projects out to views of the forest beyond and stream below.”



The home is approached from a narrow drive that winds through a forest and opens into a clearing. Visitors proceed along a footbridge, which spans a crevice in the ledge, to enter the rigorously conceived structure of steel and wood.

A window wall stretches the full length of the house, overlooking the shifting world of forest and stream throughout the day, which varies with the seasons. The dense forest acts as a buffer for the sunlight in the morning, allowing soft light to illuminate the living spaces. Afternoon light penetrates the interior through a long series of clerestory windows, extending along the building and echoing the arc of the sun.

A central stone fireplace serves as a counterpoint to the slim wood structural elements that frame views of the forest beyond. The living space, centered on and opened to the window wall, is quickly transformed into an extra sleeping area with a Murphy bed. Natural materials used throughout the residence are sympathetic to the forested environment, while operable windows and doors, as well as decks at either end, foster cross-ventilation and take advantage of the cool breezes from the stream and forest. During the cold Pennsylvania winters, a geothermal system supported by a naturally flowing artesian well warms the interior.

Project Data

2007 – 2011
1300 sf