Anyone Entering This Building Will Feel at Home Regardless of Where They're From
On Bruny Island south of Tasmania this beautiful cabin rises amongst the trees. It is designed to be highly functional, a simple and pure structure, that only contains two pieces of furniture added by the owner. As for the rest, the cabin itself is constructed in a way that integrates 'the furniture' with bespoke 'built-ins'.
The cabin designed by Maguire + Devine Architects is located on 99 acres of forest. Created as a well-equipped shelter, the owner wanted a place to retreat, a space away from the stress of her busy hospital job.
The windows of the building are facing all four cardinal directions. Being totally off grid, the cabin runs almost self sufficient: Rain water is collected, photovoltaics harvest energy from sunlight, an oven provides heating – the wood used is fallen timber that can be collected on the estate – and this also provides heat to cook food. Gas from bottles provides warm water and the heat for the stove.
The owner of the estate wished to create a building that suits as furniture at the same time. Only a low table and a mattress on the elevated sleeping loft were allowed as real furniture. The client was born in Taiwan and spent her childhood in Japan. This clearly had an impact on the design of the cabin: The light colored timber walls, floor, and ceiling create a warm sense of enclosure – all referencing Japanese architecture.
Translucent glass in the sliding doors create the sense of Japanese rice paper screens. At the same time, people who enter the warm atmosphere of the cabin will immediately associate the interior with cabins in remote wilderness all over the world: The space was designed to create a sense of "otherness" and escape.
On the more private side of the cabin, dwellers can bathe outside in the landscape. When the bath tub, that is inserted into the deck, is not in use, it can be covered with panels. With the two sliding doors open, this private deck and the deck on the opposite side of the cabin can be seamlessly connected through the building. This will yield a platform of ten times 2.5 metres, which in an instant will dramatically change the idea of scale and space of the cabin.
A secret door from the inside bathroom adds the functionality of a mud room to the bathroom. Also campers can be let into the building without interrupting people sleeping on the upper loft.
If you wish more inspiration on places in remote wilderness, browse our book Hideouts.