Hutker Architects

Whale Fall

This home is the revival of an original designed by architect Steven Holl. Inspired by a passage in Melville’s Moby Dick, where Native Americans stretched animal hides over a beached whale skeleton for shelter, the house received a Progressive Architecture Citation in 1986 and an AIA National Honor Award in 1999. When the current owners acquired the property, years of neglect had taken their toll. Hutker Architects was hired to re-build the home in a manner that captured the spirit of the original. The team maintained Holl’s inside-out balloon frame – a rectangular prism with articulated wooden “bones” framing views of nature beyond, while incorporating features that add to its durability and narrative. Several defining new elements, such as an ambitious energy profile and additional living space, ensure that the home will prove both progressive and comfortable by contemporary standards.