Sierra Retreat
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Sierra Retreat

May 17, 2014
Located near Lake Tahoe and with views of ski slopes on one side and a national forest on the other, this 6,136 square foot residence was designed as a relaxing retreat for family and friends, taking advantage of the dramatic setting and enhancing a connection to the environment.  The residence’s 1,653 square foot outdoor living space, and its finely tuned relationship to its natural wooded site, provides a perfect family getaway.

Positioned to lie with the slope of the site, the residence is comprised of two rectangular volumes connected by a transparent breezeway, inviting the site to flow through the residence.  These volumes are sheared to follow the slope of the site, giving each structure access to views and light while re-enforcing the idea of movement with the land.  Aspen trees are planted along this axis of shear, enhancing the visual connectivity along the sloping site and providing a picturesque change with the seasons.

The building materials were selected to complement the colors and textures found in the surrounding wooded environment.  The two building volumes are sheathed in “browned” copper and cedar wood siding (intended to weather naturally and develop a patina over time) and are anchored to the site by a stone-clad lower level.  The residence’s public spaces such as the living and dining rooms are enveloped with large glass façades to take advantage of the views and light from the south.  The double-height living/dining room area is connected to the outdoor courtyard via large, eight-foot sliding doors, thus allowing for a seamless indoor-outdoor transition and doubling the area for entertaining.

Location / year

Martis Camp, CA / 2010

Principals in Charge

Peter Pfau, FAIA, LEED AP


Peter Pfau, FAIA, LEED AP
Melanie Turner

Square Footage

6,136 GSF

Project Managers

Melanie Turner

Team Members

Anthony Diaz
Sean Bailey

Photographic Credits

Pfau Long Architecture

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