by Peter Jensen
A small cozy cottage in the woods epitomizes the romance of living amidst nature. Architect Drew Hubbell and his father James have completed plans for a new Caretaker’s Cottage at Ilan-Lael, and it promises to join the “tiny house” movement in several uniquely artistic ways.
Practicality plays an equal role: the property needs a small dwelling for an on-site caretaker. Life-long residents James and Anne Hubbell have reached their mid-80s and are no longer able to do the physical labor themselves.
“We hope to find a person to live here who really cares about the property and Ilan-Lael Foundation,” says architect Drew Hubbell, who worked on the design with his father James. “Ideally the cottage will be home for an artist and craftsperson who has technical maintenance experience and hands-on building knowledge.”
Three vaulted ceiling/roof elements lead to high windows that open for ventilation, and high natural lighting floods in. The roof blends and curves into walls much like the design of Ilan-Lael’s new Art Center nearby. Walls feature fire-resistant super-insulating concrete forms made from recycled styrofoam packaging mixed with cement. A Tridipanel roof system, along with bendable rebar and lath, allow for organic shapes covered with shotcrete. In short, it’s a very “green” residence.
“I’m very lucky to work with my dad on this,” says Drew. “It’s his baby. You can give him the simplest design program and he creates something magical. We’ve been doing it awhile, so we have an understanding and a way of working together.”
Design: Hubbell & Hubbell Architects, San Diego
Structural Engineer: Tod Martin
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