“Even though it’s bold, it doesn’t shout at you,” David Salmela says of the silvery house he designed for a woodsy setting in Deephaven, Minnesota. “It’s not a barking dog. It’s a resting, very gentle animal.” The American Institute of Architects, conferring its 2008 Housing Award, was more direct: the house was, in the words of the jury, “brilliantly designed.” The Streeter house is just one of fifty-one notable projects by Minnesota architect Salmela featured in The Invisible Element of Place.Thomas Fisher explores both the beauty and the practicality of Salmela’s award-winning designs—and offers insight into how an architectural firm as small and remote as Salmela’s has been able to produce such consistently remarkable and internationally recognized results. Profiling such building projects as Jackson Meadow, a conservation community that has become a nationwide model; the Hawks Boot Factory, Zamzow house, and Bagley Nature Pavilion, which emphasize green building, solar power, and the use of natural light; and the Chrismer, Koch, Fiore, Roland, Ramberg, and Grams cabins, meshing clients’ particular needs and the land’s peculiar constraints, this book provides a rare vision of architectural design.
Gorgeous images from one of the nation’s most unique architectural photographers showcase how Salmela’s designs work in concert with individual wishes, environmental concerns, and artistic understanding, and his breathtaking buildings reflect the Midwest’s culture, history, and, ideally, its future.
The author, Thomas Fisher is professor and dean at the College of Design, University of Minnesota. He is the author of Salmela Architect (Minnesota, 2005) and In the Scheme of Things: Alternative Thinking on the Practice of Architecture (Minnesota, 2000).
The photographer, Peter Bastianelli-Kerze’s architectural photographs have been published in more than a dozen books as well as in numerous magazines, such as Abitare, Architecture, Architectural Record, and Architectural Review.