Forest Retreat
by Scalar Architecture

Emplaced in an East coast forest, a 1200sf retreat for family of writers and producers is planned for minimally ecological footprint. The site – accessible only by foot or light utility vehicle – was chosen in a sloped forest clearing punctuated by large boulders and limited top soil. To lessen the footprint, a compact box affords an engaging stepped living and dining spaces, two bedrooms, a loft and a southeast facing porch. A few large openings nuanced this hovering box that adapts to a vegetated and rocky sloping terrain. One such opening is a concavity of the roof plane that collects water, light, guides ventilation, and further exposes the terrain. Except for the pier foundations and a leaf-resilient siding, the structure is entirely built with wood both nominal and engineered and is heavily insulated with sustainable materials. The openings address the southern solar exposure, the northern and northeastern winter winds, and a local summer southwestern wind.

Exposing a boulder on the ground, the courtyard or impluvium multitasks in a number of ways: It establishes a relationship between the indoors, the porch and the forest; it produces a clearing for contemplation within the clearing of the forest for house; and, it elevates the process of rain and snow nurturing the forest by framing it, augmenting it by the surface of the roof, and, articulating all spaces around it.

Architecture: Scalar Architecture – Julio Salcedo – Principal in Charge, Tomás Rodríguez, Elda Hernández, Sharon Mendoza, Raúl Tenoira
Interior Design: Paul Feldsher
Structural: Zen Rill
Materials: Standing Seam
Contractor: Bill Haley
Windows: Andersen
Area: 1,200 sq ft
Location: Washington Depot, CT, US
Year of Completion:: 2022
Photography: Imagen Subliminal (Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero)


Architects: Scalar Architecture


Julio Salcedo – principal,
Murilo Machado Candido – Associate

(646) 342 2244
180 Varick Street, Suite 1514
New York, NY 10014

scalar Architecture is an award winning international design firm based in New York City. As the term indicates, scalar Architecture operates at a variety of scales collaborating with allied key experts. The fruits of these collaborations are all embracing projects that garner accolades for their transformative solutions, such as the International First Prize for the development of Hamar, Norway, and the Lasso House, which won the Architectural League Young Architect’s Award. In all its ventures, scalar Architecture provides an expansive deployment of architecture and its registers of program, geometry, context, aesthetics and form.

scalar’s residential experience includes dwellings and housing in Spain, Maine, and New York as well as large scale sustainable developments in Guatemala and Costa Rica.  With expertise in hospitality and commercial projects, scalar’s work also includes hotels in Nicaragua and Hounduras, and US restaurants Recess and Flurt.  Institutional projects include commissioned designs for the Woodstock Association Museum, the offices of the Dean at Cornell School’s of Architecture and an ongoing 100,000 sf medical building in New York.

scalar Architecture collaborates with multiple international partners, including Regional, a joint venture developing hotels in Central America.  Urban and landscape collaborations include the re-development of Hamar, and chosen entries for Build a Better Burb and Elemental Chile, as well as a large cross-programmed sustainable park in Madrid, Spain.

scalar Architecture’s Principal is Julio Salcedo, Licensed Arch. US / EU, LEEP AP.  Born in Madrid, Salcedo holds a B.A. in architecture and sculpture from Rice University, and a Master of Architecture from Harvard University.  He has taught at Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Syracuse University, Cornell University, and currently at City College as an Associate Professor. In addition to the book Generic Specific Continuum, Salcedo has written numerous articles about the work of scalar Architecture.

Prior to launching his own office, Julio Salcedo worked for Pritzker prize winner Rafael Moneo. He also worked at SOM in New York as Senior Designer for the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, and for Rick Cook of COOKFOX.  He has been a juror for international and national competitions, including AIA awards and the Kay e Sante nan Ayiti Housing Competition in Haiti.

The work of scalar Architecture has been exhibited at the Farnsworth Museum, and has been widely published in both the US (Architectural Record, The Architect’s Newspaper, Interior Design, Princeton Architectural Press, Breathe, House Beautiful) and abroad in Canada, Germany, Norway, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Thailand, Japan, and China.