Miller Hull

Decatur Island Bunkhouse

Decatur Island, WA
Light on the land and no more than necessary
Size 400 SF
Completion 2019

Map

Light on the land and no more than necessary – these were the first principles that guided the development of a 400-square-foot bunkhouse adjacent to the iconic Gorton Bounds Cabin designed by Bob Hull in 1986. Simplicity in spatial organization and clarity in tectonic expression pay homage to its neighbor. By floating the enclosed volume above the site the building massing amplifies the reading of the sloping topography.

The steep site presented significant challenges including the inability to access the immediate building area with any heavy equipment. A narrow 500-foot trail through the woods connects the end of a gravel road to the site, through which all construction materials were carried by hand. Building components were sized based on the ability of a three-person crew to maneuver them along the trail. Budget constraints drove a tight construction timeline and eliminated any unnecessary trades. The small crew lived onsite during a good portion of construction to reduce transportation costs and the environmental impact associated with building on a remote island.

The design team embraced these challenges as the defining constraints of the project, allowing them to shape a simple yet potent intervention.