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Project description

Six priests from disparate rural Nebraska parishes sought to build a retreat house. Having attended seminary together, they needed a place for both quiet contemplation and animated theological dialogue. The small site they acquired is located atop a bluff overlooking the Platte River Valley and the town of Fremont, Nebraska. Adjacent farm buildings, dating back to the late 1800’s, are still utilized by neighbors from whom the property was acquired.

The program was simple, though unusual, when compared to a typical vacation home. The house includes a small chapel with views over the valley. A loft accommodates study for one priest or a small group while focusing views on the most satisfying elements of the site. The living room facilitates parish and family retreats on an informal basis.

The house was inspired by the adjacent agrarian vernacular and conceived as a simple shotgun shack “aimed” at the valley below. The house subtly reveals views of the valley only as you enter and proceed through it while the roof and skewed appendages identify and articulate the programmatic spaces within.


Location: Fremont, NE


Type: Contemporary

Status: Unbuilt