CABIN IN THE WOODS

What do you get when you combine a sloping woodland site, the desire for a family home designed to minimize the building’s footprint, and a tight budget?

Stacked Cabin caught my eye a while back when I noticed the house highlighted on Archinect as one of the 2012 recipients of the AIA Small Project Awards, and this particular house just leapt out thanks to its simple and graphic form, and to the fact that tonally it feels so sympathetic to the hues of its wooded setting. 

Situated on the edge of a small clearing in a remote Wisconsin forest, the house extends to just 880 sq/ft and was designed by Johnsen Schmaling Architects. Traditionally you might expect a cabin of this type to be arranged horizontally, but here, to keep the footprint tight, the various elements were arranged vertically, including a workshop, storage and washroom on the ground level, with an open plan living space taking up the floor above.

On one side, this living and dining area is open to an elongated kitchen, while the other side opens to a pair of small ‘sleeping rooms’. We’ve all seen open plan spaces defined by sliding doors and screens, but here floor-to-ceiling curtains can be closed over the sleeping areas and the kitchen, changing the mood of the space throughout the day. It’s such a simple idea, but the fabric adds a flourish of colour while also softening the otherwise crisp palette of polished concrete floors and white walls and ceilings. It’s an inspiring way of handling an open plan space without the need to introduce additional ‘structure’.

The external palette was designed to reflect the location and includes exposed concrete, anodized metal, and cedar wood. The top level of the house is a study space, which was initially designed to sit alongside the main living area before simply being stacked on top of it. Can you imagine working here looking out to the treetops? It’s a great detail.

For more images and plans, see the post here on ArchDaily. Photography by John J. Macauley.