The Arrow Loop


drawing board July2012

Location: Midcoast Maine

Architect: David G. Johnson, Skaala

Builder: Rockport Post & Beam & Jon Levenseler

Square footage: 2,300

Construction complete: Summer 2012

Looking through tall pines, over a lobster pound, and on to the bay and islands beyond, this home’s site enjoys a view that is quintessentially Maine. Capturing this character and responding to the site’s other key features quickly became the design focus. The program is modest with its two bedrooms, but if autonomy is desired, a wing could function well as guest quarters. With that in mind the house is divided into two “barns” with the main entry acting as both connector and divider between them. The entry is completely glazed to enhance this separation, and the barns are finished in their vernacular shingle, inside and out, to further define their identity.

The tapering nature of the view corridor provided the inspiration for the angular plan, akin to the way an arrow loop works in castle walls. Whereas an orthogonal scheme would have looked into the shouldering trees, the small angle between the two barns’ orientations offers them unique views, both of which still look down through the clearing.

Simple roof forms borrowed from the lobster pound buildings have a utilitarian nature, opening the house to southern sun and views and also sheltering it from prevailing winter winds. Construction elements include a dramatic timber frame, efficient stress-skin panels for the exterior envelope, a durable standing-seam metal roof, and a fireplace with stone harvested from quarry tailings found all over the site.