A Retreat in the Mountains

The retreat is located on the top of Mount Vetter. The facility will be used mostly by astronomers, but it shall also serve as an education center serving the general public, visitors and weekenders interested in astronomy. The site is on land that has been leased from the Angeles National Forest. The new structure is designed such that its construction, operation and maintenance does not impact the natural environment.

The space is designed for scientists to work/ rest and for visitors to explore. The combinations of light and shade, open and enclosed spaces and linear elements make for a highly sensuous and restorative experience. The underlying informal layout of the upper level is a carefully modelled path of circulation which leads daily hikers to certain predetermined points but lets them explore other areas for themselves. The perspective is always controlled. It either ensures or denies a view. The fascination for angled walls is enforced by the difference in material. The exterior of the building is corten steel while the white interior angled walls invoke the feeling of subtraction. The intention to work with these elements, to implement them consciously and to lend them to a special form was there from the outset.

Dennis McFadden Studio
Fall 2019