Humans are nature too; however, the connection between humans and nature could be strengthened. A backwoods cabin is the ideal host.
The Whaelghinbran Cabin attempts to blur lines between nature and the built environment by exploring a symbiotic relationship. This design proposal is a contemporary approach to the traditional Acadian architectural vernacular and portable Traditional Aboriginal wigwam that intends to integrate unobtrusively with the natural environment. This approach draws from the advantages of proven regional building techniques while seeking innovative design solutions that cooperate with the natural environment.
Steep roof pitches with no overhang and wood cladding shingles respond to the regional conditions of the site while also taking advantage of locally sourced materials. To reduce the impact on the forest floor, foundations for the Whaelghinbran Cabin utilize jacks which are typically used to support unhitched trailers. These jacks support a significant load on flat footings, imposing a very small footprint on the forest floor while also permitting transportation of the cabin inspired by the portability of the Traditional Aboriginal wigwam. Transporting the cabin mitigates the environmental impact on the forest by allowing users to periodically relocate to permit old sites to regenerate. As an example, cabins can be moved over winter snow, pulled by farm equipment or livestock on a large sled or trailer and relocated before Spring on a new site to allow the previous location to regenerate. The ability to transport the cabin can also allow construction to occur in a controlled environment, removing the environmentally harsh construction process from the sensitive forest.
Users can further engage the outdoors with 360 degree views through operable windows and a recessed double glazed sliding door that can be orientated to take advantage of views to the south and south west within a sheltered entrance and deck enclosure built into the cabin. Other features such as exterior linear strip lights tracing the cabin profile provide entrance and deck lighting while also creating a dynamic and contemporary installation that begins to relate and engage the built environment with nature.
A small living space with two lounge chairs provides room to relax with a guest and enjoy the views and the fire. A small table with two chairs can be used for light meals or as a workspace. Chairs can be moved out to the small deck and also used as bedside tables. A small shelving unit provides space to store belongings and clothing as well as firewood and photovoltaic batteries. A twin on double bunk bed accommodates two comfortably. A central ceiling fixture and two portable bedside fixtures light the cabin powered by photovoltaic panels. Three receptacles are provided to power lights or additional electronics such as laptops or music players. To provide various construction models, several cost alternatives are also included in the design proposal.
The Whaelghinbran Cabin is a place where users explore a refreshing outlook on the built environment while also strengthening their own personal bond with nature.
From the Judges:
"The Nomadic Cabin entry meets all of the competition requirements in spades. It is compact, easily constructed from local material, is easily movable, and is beautiful. The designers have also been very subtle and sophisticated in the key design moves they have made - like the trailer jacks to support the cabin. I have a sense that this design will become a popular approach for building rural cabins in the future, and could become an iconic feature of the Acadian Forest landscape."
Craig Applegath, Architect, PPOAA, AAA, Architect AIBC, NSAA, FRAIC, LEED® AP
From Community Forests International:
"We're all really excited to build the Nomadic Cabin - it's a brilliant concept and it fits our vision of strengthening people's connection to the land here in New Brunswick perfectly. And I'm proud that it was a young Canadian who came out on top - this was a very competitive international contest and I think Mr. Fisher did great by drawing on his personal knowledge of our environment and traditions while also pushing the envelope on small, environmentally friendly building."
Jeff Schnurr, CFI Executive Director
(From jury report)
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- Site Plan
- Construction detail