Located near Charlevoix on the shores of Lake Michigan, Camp MINOH embodies the rugged ethos of Midwestern life. The house is nestled among pine and birch trees, positioned to face the strong winter winds that head south across the lake from the Upper Peninsula and Canada. Designed as a refuge for extended family gatherings, the interior plays between opaque and open spaces. The ground floor acts as the main gathering space, with a long linear connected floor plan. The second floor features a private den for film viewing, as well as a bunk room and two bedroom suites.
During the design process, the architects were tasked with creating a structure whose strength and scale matched that of the body of water that can be seen from every room in the house. The client expressed a desire for a rugged, low-maintenance home, a stipulation that informed the simple interior palette: exposed Doug Fir beams make up the ceiling while dark and rich tones of walnut and polished concrete floors anchor the space. The upper floor is highlighted by rift-sawn white oak, creating an intentional contrast to the harbored ground floor below. A cantilevered living section and framed views of the lake add to this concept of airiness, serving to connect the interior space with the dramatic exterior environment. The exterior of the home is comprised of concrete, charred wood, glass, and steel.
Another design priority was to convey a distinct sense of tranquility, a challenge achieved by highlighting the year-round sunsets, favoring views of Beaver Island and ensuring the transparency of both levels on approach; from the road in, visitors can see clear through the house to the lake.
On the exterior, Shou Sugi Ban, a Japanese technique used to extend the life of wood, was utilized to stand up to the extreme exposure to storms and UV light on the site. The charcoal-like material is not only aesthetically pleasing, but extremely long-lasting. The site-cast exterior concrete results in a raw but beautifully textured finish.