Health is our greatest asset and a home often our biggest investment. Should therefore our house not protect and benefit our health? We wish this were true. We are very conscious of this and more and know what we can do about it.
Sited in the 5900 acre Noorderpark in Utrecht, the Netherlands this cabin provides a warm and dry escape for wet and tired volunteers that maintain the park. The 35 m2 cabin replaces a 1966 storage and break shelter for park maintenance, and was built without permit as it maintained a similar size and function.
Hidden in the forest and covered by lush foliage, the volume has been shaped so that it reveal its presence only at the very last moment. Two large sliding doors open up the entire corner of the building blending the interior with the surrounding open space; a little green meadow where sheep graze to keep the young trees at bay.
With neither running water nor electricity, local firewood is used to fuel the kitchen and fireplace. This sculptural hearth forms the heart of the cabin, which includes a storage room, washroom, and eating space. The hearth supports a folding aluminum-clad roof structure, which creates a protective yet open canopy that blends into the surrounding flora.
The architecture of the cabin complements the pastoral elegance of the park. You can almost picture Thoreau writing Walden here.
Take a look at our download page for more info.
Building an extension is not always the solution if you want more living space. At least that was the out of the box answer cc-studio came up with after having been asked to add more space to the ground floor apartment of the family Maarten and Lori Lens-FitzGerald in Watergraafsmeer – a lovely living district of Amsterdam. Extending would have added square metres but would have meant destroying a relatively new kitchen, not adding any new rooms due to the building layout and planning restrictions. But more importantly it would have narrowed the 12m deep garden.
cc-studio aimed at reinforcing the potential qualities and proposed instead to take down the derogatory ruins and redevelop them. By joining the two volumes into one the resulting the space can be used more effectively. Lori and Maarten chose to keep part as storage and the rest as a garden studio space as Maarten, director of the augmented reality start-up company Layar, often has to make late night conference calls.
Second to strengthen the visual dynamic of the garden the main diagonal seen from within the living space inside (bottom left) and that runs to the sun lit (top right) back corner is kept un- built. By placing mirrored planes the visual depth of the garden was enhanced to look deeper. Also the geometry of the volume was specially tailored to play with the perspective lines and to have no vertical surfaces parallel to the house but at an angle to have a more continuous flow.
In the corner in which the volume is placed, there is much less sunlight due to the overhanging neighbouring trees. To get more light to that part of the garden, again a mirrored plane was used, this time to reflect the light of the better illuminated section of the garden back. The final measure taken was to make sure that the rebuilt volume would be part of the garden instead of part of the built environment. This was done by covering it with green (sedum) on faceted angular surfaces to avoid the typical box shape associated to buildings and by hiding the windows from direct sight. This window orientation also gives the studio a sense of intimacy and privacy. So much so that it is not only used as an office space but incidentally doubles as a curtain-less guest room.