06 Cabinon Flathead Lake ch6 0151 B

Cabin on Flathead Lake

Polson, MT

An aerie retreat, this screened cabin is nestled next to the cliffside adjacent to Montana's Flathead Lake.
The Vision

A meditative shelter designed as a kit of parts in order to facilitate ease of construction and minimize environmental impact.

  • Structural Engineer

    Eclipse Engineering

  • Builder

    John McCain

  • Interior Design

    Andersson / Wise

  • Photographer

    Art Gray

06_Cabinon Flathead Lake_ch6_0241B

In Construction

Most of the building elements were constructed off-site, and then assembled on-site with limited machinery in order to limit noise pollution. This was done primarily out of respect for the pristine surrounding wilderness, which included an osprey nesting area in the tree canopy above.

“The structure is there for the sheer enjoyment of viewing avian habitat and the dramatic environment of the tall trees and lake. The open-air primitive hut is a return to the elements.”

Frederick R. Steiner, FASLA. Natural Houses


Douglas fir walls cover the interior, while the room's structure consists of Parallam beams, a glulam from recycled woodchips. On the exterior, the building stands on eight slim steel poles and is covered by a simple metal roof.

06_Cabinon Flathead Lake_ch6_0141B_new

The cabin has a compact but highly atmospheric interior, achieved through its warm wood material palette and panoramic views.

Project Team
  • Arthur W. Andersson, FAIA

  • F. Christian Wise, AIA

  • Jesse Coleman

  • Design Award - Texas Society of Architects - Cabin on Flathead Lake

    Texas Society of Architects