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the Watershed House

The rainforest house sits at the heart of the watershed, nestled into the vegetable gardens and surrounding fruit trees. Its vortex-like form has a gesture of bringing together family, foods and activities, and then radiating out nourishment to the watershed and beyond. In the bamboo forms, there is a coming together of an earthy geographical pattern below and a light geometrical form above.

Designing began with clay and bamboo sticks on the site of the house-to-be. A detailed survey of rocks brought awareness of a triangular gesture in the land. Furthermore, a softened gaze amongst the permanence of these boulders suggested a sense of movement, of twisting between smaller and bigger rocks.


This triangular twisting gesture became three interlocking roofs. A half-turn rotation transforms the pattern found in the rocks below up to a triangle in the roof. This central triangle, the uppermost point of the roof where all curving roof beams meet is the point where the form finds symmetry. The idea of a symmetrical shape flows down to align with reality, the uniqueness of the land form, through site-specific columns that connect roof beams and rocks.


A vortex-like feeling is created within as clusters of columns follow this half-turn rotation in a clockwise motion. Internally, inhabitable spaces such as dining areas, cozy hangouts, storage nooks and preparation surfaces, emerged between clusters of structural columns.


The intention was for the roof to feel like part of the hillside, and the inhabitable space beneath as an opening within the landscape. A fresh interior is created by a gentle breeze generated by the openings between the overlapping roofs. This atmospheric flow is also visually experienced as an interior ceiling finish of spiralling bamboo splits.

(photos 7, 12, 16: @buraiankan)



Main construction: February to May 2019


Designed by Elle and Sergio.

Built in a creative collaboration with: Joaquin, Medardo, Dorancé, David, Sergio and Elle.

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