Architectural Inspo: Flathead Lake Treehouse, MT

A decisively minimal, elevated outpost for nature watching

Montana stands alone in the American West as home to some of the few truly wild places left largely untouched by significant development. Here, nestled near the Canadian boarder and on the edge of the 2.4 million acre Flathead National Forest, we find our latest bit of architectural inspiration. Without a flashy name, Cabin on Flathead Lake by Andersson Wise Architects of Austin, TX is just that—well, almost. It's more of a cabin above Flathead Lake.

Perched on the hillside of a shale cliff locals call “The Matterhorn” and surrounded by sky scraping ponderosa pine, this uniquely minimal cabin stands on six steel piers, elevating it above the floor in an effort to both improve the structure’s vantage and leave the surrounding landscape effectively untouched. Designed as an outpost almost exclusively for nature watching—the area is home to thriving osprey and eagle populations, as well as lynx, grizzly and numerous other, less exciting critters—and as such features 270 degrees of screened walls and windows.

Natural wood coats every surface inside and out. No heating or cooling system has been installed, adding to the ruggedness of the natural location. Running water is pulled directly from the lake below. But really, when you’re this out there, the simplicity simply means less opportunity for things to go wrong.

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