Location Based Architecture

When designing structure we have the unique ability to either embrace the site or go against it. If we embrace the site, our designs have the ability to mesh into the current fabric of the location. In addition, if we choose to design within the context of the site, our impact will be lessoned simply because we are bringing less foreign materials to construct with and thus not changing the sites specific ecosystem.

In the Pine Creek Pavilion we see the ability to design within the limits of the site. The pavilion was built within the Absaroka US National Forest at the edge of the Wilderness. The goal of this project was to impact the natural environment as little as possible. All the framing members were milled on the site from standing dead trees felled by the Forest Service for using in the pavilion. Some of the other materials used include Douglas Fir beams, reclaimed concrete for pavers, cor-tim corrugated roofing, steel and local soils for rammed earth.

This project reminds designers that we always have the ability to design within a certain context. Projects that embrace and site and compliment the existing ecosystem of context are sometimes challenging but always rewarding. Similarly in other locations and even in cities we have seen the projects like the Nomadic Museum by Shigeru Ban that uses shipping containers to create a museum that can travel the world from port to port.

If we accept the challenge to use site-specific materials while designing, we will end up with communities, towns, and locations that literally are one with their environment. These site materials do not always have to be from the natural environment, but rather like the Nomadic Museum, use materials and techniques that extract objects and systems from the proposed environments.


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