In 1918, the White Pine Architectural Competition called for plans envisioning a vacation home for a hilly lakeside plot of land in New York, not to exceed $5,000 in cost, with an outside finish of Eastern White Pine. The client wanted to focus on views of the lake, and required plenty of space for a family of four, plus regular guests – including a sleeping porch.
The judges weren’t exactly impressed with the overall quality of the designs submitted, saying “the solutions, taken as a whole, indicate an almost painful absence of direct, synthetic, logical thought,” but three top prizes were arrived at nonetheless. The winning design caught their attention first for its beautiful renderings but also because the house is simple, direct and logical with “an unmistakeable wood character.”
The annual competition not only promoted the use of white pine in architecture, but also had “the ulterior and more altruistic objects of raising the standard of domestic architecture; of discovering and encouraging new talent, and of providing for the prospective house builder a point of departure, at least, in his enterprise.” The competitions are still held to this day, nearly a century later.