Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Awards: 2014 AIA Alaska Honor Award
Team: Petra Sattler-Smith
This master suite remodel and entry addition originated with the clients’ desire to incorporate three Buddha statues into their 1980’s modernist home. The design quietly resolves challenges of the original home while creating new experiences, emphasizing old and new axes with light and artwork. New geometry takes cues from the original form, but is softened by vegetation, artwork, and playful lighting.
The abrupt original entry is slowed to a procession, descending to a sunken court, traversing a pond on floating granite blocks, turning once to face a Buddha sitting in an existing alcove, and again to face the entry door. Inside, the dappled light, the sound of the pond, and the second statue enshrined in the warm wood set a meditative tone. Teak slats around the entry appear opaque outside, but from the lower light within, the transparency between slats is more obvious. This screened enclosure provides privacy while allowing views out and sun in. The entry steps down again to the bright original living room focused on Campbell Lake beyond.
A new door allows the residents to completely open or close the master suite to the rest of the home. When open, an axis is revealed, at the end of which the original vanity counter is replaced by an alcove, awash in natural light, displaying another work of art. Along the axis, one discovers the new vanity on one side and the new master bathroom on the other. The bathroom contains the final moment of descent – a recessed wooden bathtub – and, just beyond a glass wall, the final Buddha.