Who hasn’t dreamed of getting away from it all? Escaping life’s numbing pressures and letting the imagination pursue neglected daydreams, while gazing into the hazy, sunny distance.
Since first reading Walden (1) many, many years ago, I have been fascinated with the idea of the rural retreat as a challenge to current values. The importance of space to let ideas grow, unhindered, the opportunity that wilderness affords to stand back, create distance from immediate compulsion, to nurture valuable but frail notions (2) is something that I have sought to express with this little building.
The primitive hut, a building archetype sometimes referred to as “Adam’s House in Paradise”, has a long history of inspiration for architects. Even before Le Corbusier sought refuge in his little Cabanon overlooking the beach at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin (3), it had the power to embody new and exciting ideas. This idea is as powerful today as it has ever been. Observe the Tiny House movement (4) in the United States as well as the recent spate of books about cabins and rural retreats.
The design challenge in this building type is one of condensation. How can you fit the essentials of modern life within a limited space, wedding convenience with delight? Boat interiors (5) are particularly inspiring. Another source of inspiration is Japanese architecture, in its aspiration for clean and uncluttered interiors in tiny spaces.
There I also find inspiration for ways to use building materials, being truthful to their nature, bringing out their natural beauty. Here I am particularly interested in the use of timber (6), currently the most renewable of building materials. This hut is build on a base of stacked local stone, with the hut itself being clad in charred wooden boarding. This rough exterior contrasts deliberately with the smoother and brighter interior to enhance the sense of being inside, cacooning the occupier when shelter is needed.