Buildings Can Be Boxy but Beautiful if You Have a Good Eye

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©. Trent Bell

Whenever I do a presentation on Passivhaus or Passive House as it is known in America, I show an image of the GO Home by Go Logic; It is so simple, beautifully proportioned, and comfortable looking. It is the epitome of that hashtag invented by Passive House consultant and builder Bronwyn Barry: #BBB or Boxy But Beautiful. I praised it in a post that as much as 30% of heat loss can be caused by bad design: "it is often harder for an architect to make a simple design look beautiful; they have to rely on proportion and scale. It takes skill and a good eye."

exterior little house on the ferry

© Trent Bell

Now Inhabitat and Dezeen show a recent Go Logic project, a summer house in Maine called the Little house on the Ferry. Once again it shows the firm's mastery of simple forms- it is three simple cabins, connected by walkways. Architect Riley Pratt (who actually lives in the GO house) tells Dezeen:

"The owner refers to them as her monopoly houses," said Pratt. "You see them on the hillside when you come in from the ferry. They're meant to weather and fit into the landscape."
gologic cabin

© Trent Bell

The architect writes in greater detail in ArchDaily:

The design is respectful of the balance that nature has struck on the island between harsh forces of wind and sea and a delicate layer of soil that provides a scant foothold for vegetation among granite outcroppings – some of which have been hewn by time, and others split and left behind as a visible memory of the once prevalent granite industry of Vinalhaven.
wall detail

© Go Logic CLT wall detail

They are the first project that Go Logic has built from one of TreeHugger's favorite materials, Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). According to the architects' website,

For Little House on the Ferry, the CLT panels form the enclosure for the entire building—floors, walls, and roofs—and function as both structure and finish, which creates a minimal and somewhat rustic feel. These CLT panels are made from black spruce and locally produced in Quebec. Precut using CNC milling machinery, GO Logic went through several rounds of shop drawings to confirm the size, shape, and orientation of each panel. The sequence of packing, unloading, and erecting the panels was carefully choreographed.
gologic interior

© Trent Bell

Surprisingly, they appear to have painted the CLT panels, which seems a waste of the beautiful wood. Compare to Susan Jones CLT house in Seattle that was left in its natural state. Perhaps the photographs don't show the texture very well.

go logic evening

© Trent Bell

But they are so simple, elegant and most likely very energy efficient, given the firm's philosophy where they "study the building’s site, program, climate, form, and materials; and we respond with a design that maximizes renewable energy resources, sunlight, views, and ultimately our client’s comfort."

Living room

© Trent Bell