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Rough and smooth.

Will Bruder's three-storey office building for an advertising agency at Jackson Hole, Wyoming is in a naturally landscaped site on a curved street in the town's new commercial district. The base and the stair towers in the south-west and north-west corners are clad in random widths of vertical cedar boarding, rough and reminiscent of local agricultural buildings; the effect is enhanced by the way in which galvanised corrugated steel barn siding is almost casually leant against the frame to form the west wall (extension is planned on side). Upper floors clad in crisp shiplap cedar boards project over glass strip windows, giving an almost geological dimension to the outside.

The entrance is under three stout roughly de-barked logs which cantilever out over the precise metal and glass of the doors (Bruder used a similar tactic, in steel, on a much larger scale in the Phoenix library, AR March, p48). From the entrance, a passage ramps and tapers down to the middle of the building. The move sounds daunting but isn't, for the friendly, warm smelling logs give direction, and at the end there is an enticing volume full of light. This is the reception area, which rises through the full height of the building to a skylight that connects to a glazed slot in the corrugated cladding giving garden views and letting sunlight in. The reception desk is a welcoming circle, but the verticality of the space is emphasised by three big logs which soar up to support the roof. In one corner, a lift rises from a thicket of bamboos near the glazed slot.

The precise metal of the lift contrasts with the rough logs and with the bush-hammered concrete floor. There is a further contrast in the pale, smooth gently-patterned maple panelling on the walls of the atrium. The maple veneers are mounted on MDF and the work stations in the upper two floors are formed of the same combination of materials. Cills in these areas are four feet (1.2m) above floor level and above them are the (675 mm) strip windows offering awesome views over due mountains round Jackson. Incidentally, the high cills obscure the rather shambolic town itself when you are sitting at a work station, and the projections over each strip shade the glazing (which in any case largely looks north and east).

What appears from the outside to be a study in sophisticated neo- vernacular, a sort of tamed Herb Greene, reveals itself internally to have much subtlety and variety. It is an office that offers each user a particular experience of space and light, community and privacy, materiality and abstraction: a very finely tuned interior.
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Title Annotation:design of new office building in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Author:Seal, Margaret
Publication:The Architectural Review
Date:Apr 1, 1996
Previous Article:Light spirited.
Next Article:Studies in Tectonic Culture: The Poetics of Construction in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Architecture.

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