Architect Jim Garrison of Brooklyn-based Garrison Architects was asked to design a lakeside retreat for visiting families at a boarding school for troubled teens, Star Commonwealth, in Albion, Michigan. To drastically reduce academic interruption and cut site noise, Garrison decided early on to create an 1,100-square-foot modular building dubbed Koby, with two bedrooms on opposite sides of the structure and a common dining area in the middle “as a therapeutic space for families to gather and eat together.” The retreat, which was manufactured by Kullman Buildings (founded in 1927 for the purpose of building prefab steel-and-glass diners), takes on an X formation, with one end of the X equipped with floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the water. “It’s quite a bucolic site,” says Garrison. “We related the building to both the lake and the gentle slope of the land, and created an opening in the center of the X that makes the building seem larger and allows reflective light in."
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