ISSUE 48  |  Handmade in California

Architect Visit: Spacecraft by WildFarm at Almond Hartzog

November 30, 2011 9:24 PM

BY Lydia Lee

Whenever I’ve toured formal Japanese gardens, I’ve gazed wistfully at their artful teahouses, imagining myself lingering over a cup of tea on their calm premises. Indeed, the teahouse may be the architectural equivalent of interior design’s chaise lounge—a representation of graceful repose. Thus the instant appeal of Spacecraft, a free-standing, finely crafted wooden structure that hovers lightly over the landscape.

Designed by Malibu-based design collective WildFarm, a model Spacecraft is now on view at San Francisco's Almond Hartzog Gallery. The building has been carefully crafted so it can be broken down into its modular parts—the largest single piece is an 8-by-8-foot sliding glass door—for easy reconfiguration and portability. It requires no foundation, standing on a custom system of steel pads with bolts that can be adjusted for uneven terrain. The concept is by Wildfarm member Patrick Lang; the detailed joinery, which combines wood with steel tubing for support, is the work of WildFarm member Ryan Hattig, who trained in traditional Japanese temple construction.

Above: Shown here in the Almond Hartzog Gallery, the model Spacecraft is 160 square feet (100 square feet of indoor space and 20 square feet of decks) and costs $70,000. The structure is made of Douglas fir and features walnut flooring, giving it a warmth and solidity that is unusual for a modular building.