What counts most when it comes to a building is the immediate experience. Wooden Space is not much more than a shelter for fire and sleep. And yet, its reductive concept opens possibilities for what should not be preconceived.
The design is simple: three walls are solid, one is open. The cabin remains disguised in the forest thanks to its black facade, the fully glazed entrance opening is only visible on the approach to the building. One uses a stone step to enter the porch and opens the door. Unveiling the shiny curtains and crossing the threshold reveals a generous and bright space. There is a stove in front of the entrance.
A second look reveals more details. When looking up, one can see the sky through a rooflight in the middle of the room. The height of recess on the right side looks good as a bench and a place to sleep for one or two and the containers underneath are sliding out, which is a great place to store the luggage. The simple box frames serving as stools or tables can be easily moved around the space. From the porch, one can access a small storage for firewood or skis.
There are also things that one cannot see. Although the thickness of the walls is merely 14 cm, they are fitted with two kinds of insulation: a layer of low-tech, sustainably sourced cellulose and a rather high-tech, but fully recyclable, radiant barrier. This combination is providing an ecologically responsible, high performance wall, while maintaining the lightness of the structure. The shelter will warm up quickly and stay comfortable in winter, and the shading provided by the porch will help to keep it cool during summers.
A vital aspect of the structure is the ease of the construction process and the eventual disassembly. The soil screws used for the foundations are easy to install and level. The timber frame is pleasant to build and insulate. The outer cladding is fun to treat with fire to achieve a charred film on the surface. If the cabin is disassembled, the glazing, membranes and foundations need to be removed for re-use or recycling, while the remaining timber parts are eligible for re-use or biodegradation. Wooden space will hardly leave a trace.
name: Wooden Space
date: March 2016
location: New Brunswick, Canada
type: design competition
materials: wood, cellulose insulation, radiant barrier, shou sugi ban cladding