Monday, October 25, 2010

Keel Cabin : By Salmela Architect

Whiteface Reservoir, Makinen, Minnesota, United States
Salmela Architect

Post By:Kitticoon Poopong
Salmela Architect’s animal-like Keel Cabin rests in the woods of the North Country.
Photo © Jane Kolleeny
David Salmela founded his own firm, Salmela Architect, in 1994. Many of his projects are in Minnesota, where he grew up on a farm in a predominantly Finnish community. Salmela designed this building, the Lutz Residence in Duluth, Minnesota, for musicians. 
Duluth, Minnesota, sits on the edge of Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world. Although connected via the lake and the St. Lawrence Seaway to seafaring vessels from around the globe, this city of 80,000 remains far outside the centers of fashion. It is a place where nature dominates and people seldom make news, with a few exceptions. Duluth native Bob Dylan, for example, captured the toughness of the North Country in his songs for years. But poetry comes in many forms, and Duluth-based David Salmela, FAIA, exemplifies the body and soul of these same wooded lands in his skillfully crafted designs. 

Photo © Jane Kolleeny
The 1,000-square-foot Lutz Residence is divided into a bedroom wing and living room wing. The home faces Pike Lake.
During his 38-year career, Salmela has designed mostly residential projects ranging in size from the 468-square-foot Emerson Sauna, for clients in Duluth, to the 306-acre Jackson Meadow, a community in Minnesota (both AIA Honor Award winners in 2005). Born and raised on a dairy farm in the state, Salmela, of Finnish origin, blends Modern with traditional design, resulting in an aesthetic that is distinctively Scandinavian, peppered with his signature North Country agricultural vernacular. While no two of his projects are alike, they all reveal a Salmela imprint, with his characteristic accents of bright color, use of local wood and organic shapes, and a desire to be in concert with nature. The 1,656-square-foot Keel Cabin, on the Whiteface Reservoir, in Makinen, Minnesota, demonstrates this well.

Photo © Jane Kolleeny
For the Loken House in Duluth, Salmela renovated and added to a Colonial Revival home. A tower that contains a library and study is perched on a concrete foundation. 
The Keels, who live and work 3 hours away in the Twin Cities, needed a summer retreat, and decided to build a rustic, three-bedroom house and guesthouse on their lake property. Though professionally an engineer, the husband studied architecture in school; his interest in design, tempered by a tight budget, led him and his wife to do much of the site and foundation work themselves. The couple also salvaged the windows and pilings from a manufacturer’s boneyard, and Salmela incorporated these into his design. Remarkably, total construction cost only about $120,000, or $72 per square foot. “If you buy discarded windows before design, you can’t expect the Farnsworth House,” jokes Salmela. Still, the cabin is remarkably exuberant.

Photo © Jane Kolleeny
At the Loken House, an enclosed bridge connects the tower to the master bedroom on the second floor.
As you approach the cabin, it emerges as a rectilinear form with painted plywood siding and standing-metal-seam roofing, sitting on poured-in-place concrete footings. Within this conventional envelope, an unexpected, animal-like shape emerges—a cantilevered form that sags then swells into the rounded back of what appears to be an “aged creature in a boreal forest,” as Salmela describes it. The architect used a similar abstracted form on the Loken Horse Barn (Duluth, 1993) and is considering something similar with the Yingst Screen House (still in design), in Traverse City, Michigan.

Photo © Jane Kolleeny
A dramatic archway in the Loken House offers a striking contrast to the structure's square and triangular forms. 

Photo © Jane Kolleeny
David Salmela guides a visitor to the horse stable he designed for the Loken House. The building's profile references the head and neck of a horse. 

Photo © Jane Kolleeny
A view of the sauna and tub room at the Loken House. 

Photo © Jane Kolleeny
David Salmela walks along a breezeway leading to the Cotruvo Residence in Duluth, Minnesota. 

Photo © Jane Kolleeny
A storage building is set among trees at the Cortruvo Residence.

Photo © Jane Kolleeny
A serene seating area and firewall overlook Lake Superior at the Cortruvo Residence. 

the People

Salmela Architect
630 West 4th Street
Duluth, MN 55806
p. 218-724-7517
f. 218-728-6805
David Salmela, FAIA
Souliyahn Keobounpheng, not registered

Bruno Franck
General contractor:
Rod & Sons Carpentry

Peter Bastianelli Kerze

the Products

Structural system:
poured concrete piers & footings
MDO plywood, stained
Standing metal seam Galva Lume
Aluminum clad wood (warehouse extras)
Low E-Argon
Insulated-panel or plastic glazing:
Polycarbonite porch roof
Wood doors:
wharehouse extras

Interior finishes
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork:
birch plywood
Paints and stains:
Pratt & Lambert
birch plywood
Floor and wall tile:
birch wood floors
Fixed seating:
custom designed couch/bed
Caper (Herman Miller)
Interior ambient lighting:
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