Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

The Invisible Element of Place

The Architecture of David Salmela

2011
Author:

Thomas Fisher
Photography by Peter Bastianelli-Kerze

The Invisible Element of Place

Breathtaking designs by one of the leading residential architects in the United States

In The Invisible Element of Place, Thomas Fisher explores both the beauty and the practicality of Minnesota architect David Salmela’s award-winning designs. 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.

For anyone who’s ever marveled at the purity and austerity of homes designed by David Salmela, The Invisible Element of Place provides a fascinating look at the work of one of Minnesota’s premier architects.

Mpls/St. Paul Magazine

“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 Invisible Element of Place

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).

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.

The Invisible Element of Place

For anyone who’s ever marveled at the purity and austerity of homes designed by David Salmela, The Invisible Element of Place provides a fascinating look at the work of one of Minnesota’s premier architects.

Mpls/St. Paul Magazine

A wonderful coffee-table book for anyone who appreciates architecture—especially Salmela’s mastery of Midwestern vernacular.

Midwest Home

The book creates a rich experience for the reader, evoking the close connections between residential architecture and other, seemingly unrelated disciplines. Architect readers will enjoy it for the poetry of Salmela’s buildings as well as the author’s intellectually omnivorous approach to covering them.

Residential Architect

The Invisible Element of Place

Introduction: The Invisible Made Visible
Boxes
Streeter House: Father and Son
Hawks Boot Factory: As Green As It Gets
Chrismer Cabin: The Zen of Nature
Ryan Retreat: Artist Lofts
Streeter Job Site Trailer: Trailer Talk
Streeter Model Home: Hybrid House
Bagley Nature Pavilion: Back to Nature
Krause Cabin: All in the Family
Hyytinen Cabin: Finnish Fit
Singleton Hill House: On Difficult Ground
Frykholm/Phillips House: Raising the Bar
Zamzow House: Solar Architecture
Cafesjian Tower: High Light
Koch Cabin: A Room with a View
Gables
Keel Cabin: Five Points of a New Architecture
Anderson House: Wonderland
Deloia House: Tracings
Arvold House: Health and Home
Ryan Cabin: Extended Family
Johnson Hedlund House: Double Cantilever
Anderson Landscape and Sauna: Out-of-Doors
Holmes Prototype Cabin: Contractor-Friendly Cabin
Fiore Cabin: Life’s Asymmetries
Jorgenson Sundquist House: Living with Less
Country House: Rural Geometry
Windbreaks
Golob Freeman Cabin: Strangely Familiar
Matthew Cabin: Client Confidence
Yingst Retreat and Pavilion: The Uses of Enchantment
Schifman House: Drama on the Lake
Odeh House: Out of the Box
Sheds
Roland Cabins: Reducing Our Footprint
Cotruvo House: This World So Many Have Left
Johnson Cabin: Family Heirloom
Grams Cabin: The Lake in Your Lap
Brogan House: Up from the Ashes
Taylor Whitehill Cabin: Incremental Living
Nelson House: Owner Built
Ramberg Cabin: Trail Blazing
Clusters
Clure Project: Compound Interest
Salmela House: Live/Work/Play
Jackson Meadow: Game Theory
Goldner House: Semblance of a Whole
Winton House: Scandinavian Immigrant Abstraction
Model 6 and 7: Model Modesty
Ireland Retreat: Irish Cream
Bodin Development: Small-town Urbanity
Depot Hill Equestrian Community: Well Bred
Stoney Lonesome Farm: Growing Community
Frances Graham Equestrian Center: Living with Horses
Dorsey Creek Ranch: Fly In
Awards
Building Credits

The Invisible Element of Place

UMP blog - Making a place's invisible elements visible: The architecture of David Salmela

As the dean of a college of design, I find it fascinating that someone who never attended architecture school could achieve the success and international renown that David has. ... That he has won more design awards for this work than almost any sole practitioner in the country counters a myth all too common in the architecture culture that important buildings require patron-like clients with big budgets. Not true, as David has repeatedly shown. Read more ...