Having recent experience with a modern ski cabin, I was enlisted to provide a design for a new industrial loft ski at Sugar Bowl.  When I work on a project, I need to tell a story.  Sometimes the story is not clear, but becomes clearer over time.  When a story is developed, answers to the design fall into place. The story envelopes the whole house, every detail, and helps to create a mood and emotional response to the space.  The basic requirements for this home were glass and an open floor plan.  The story evolved slowly but became a “NY City Loft” in the snow.  The shape which responds to these elements are modern and came from this image:

Inspiration for the shape is a small cabin on Orcus Island with board formed concrete base, wood walls, and large windows.  Double Click on photos to enlarge.

The floor plan is completely open, the structure is thin steel elements which uphold a floating and jutting roof, which feels ready to fly but is a also a simple and elegant form.  The walls are windows, open to the light and the surrounding trees and snow.

This is another image with exposed structural posts and beams inside and outside of the glass curtain wall.  Removing the windows from the structural wall exposes the buildings structure.

This shape of home is not ideal in Sugar Bowl, where the snow loads are over 400 pounds per square foot.  Ice tends to creep down low sloped roofs, creating enormous ice tsunami waves which are impossible to stop.

Concrete, exposed steel beams, and wood materials are the main building blocks.  Ideally, a NY city loft would be a concrete rectangle, 10 stories high.  In this beautiful location, surrounded by trees and snow, a more residential form was designed.  Image from Ethan Allen, who was chosen to build the home.  This photo shows the board form concrete, large commercial windows, and steel roof rafters under a wood roof.

The interior of the home was designed to maximize the expression and connections of the steel structure.  Given the huge snow loads on the home, steel frame construction is fairly typical in the Lake Tahoe area.  Photo of  Pixar, in Emeryville, CA.  The steel is expressed  in its raw form, bolts and rivets become ornament. Steel structures, I became aware, are all around us.  Bridges, the SF baseball stadium, and re-use buildings such as Whole Foods have these type of steel frames.  It is with larger commercial buildings, however, that the scale of the steel becomes a dominant design element.

This is another guiding image for the interior design. Exposed structure, open plan, steel posts.  Antique industrial lighting.

Kitchen drawing looking out the large front widows.  Steel beams show bolt details.  Scale of interior is loft like. Double click to enlarge the drawing and see the cabinets and steel connections.

Plans were completed, the permit was ready, and the project is now on hold. 1/7/2012













Cities and Counties that I work in:

Bay Area, San Francisco Bay Area, Northern California, Piedmont, Orinda, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Oakland, Berkeley, North Berkeley, Alameda, San Francisco, Sugar Bowl, Norden, Lake Tahoe, Inverness, Monterey, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Woodside, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Plumas County

Styles of Homes that I work in:

Shingle style, shingle, first bay traditional, craftsman, craftsmen, bungalow, industrial, English, tudor, English tudor, cottage, farm, barn, Spanish, ski cabin, cabin, modern living

Types of Projects that I work on

Residential, residential remodel, ski house, ski cabin, ski, vacation home, vacation, homes, residences, traditional homes, traditional residences, vernacular, vernacular homes, kitchens, bathrooms, remodels, tear down, renovation, restoration




Robert Kelly
Kelly and Abramson Architecture
1111 Warfield Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94610
(510) 836-0719 fax 893-3093
(cel) (510)316-9421

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