This small cabin (63 m2 /678 ft2) by Copeland Associates Architects was designed to provide a retreat for relaxation and quiet contemplation of natural surroundings. It’s located on a south-east facing slope overlooking the town of Taihape, New Zealand with its layers of hills beyond stretching to the Ruahine Ranges. The cabin is used as a studio for art practice and a base from which to explore the landscapes of the Rangitikei – Manawatu as well as accommodation for occasional gatherings of friends.
Causing minimal disturbance to the natural terrain, the cabin’s structure consists of prefabricated panels assembled on a grid of supporting timber piles, raised well above the ground. The exterior of the building is sheathed in corrugate metal sheeting, in keeping with local farm buildings.
The main studio space features a simple kitchen.
The panels, manufactured from cross-laminated timber, form floor, walls and roof and are exposed as interior finish. Many of the joinery fittings including doors, kitchen and laundry benches are made from offcuts of the same material.
The main space is focused on a large window looking over the town and the Ranges beyond
The building’s interior is warm, slightly fragrant, and has a wood-burning stove for winter.
A guest bed and a built-in desk is placed under the loft’s observation turret
A mezzanine sleeping platform is suspended over the kitchen, under a mono-pitch roof.
Driven by the wish to limit carbon footprint, optimize energy performance and build economically in this remote location, the primary building material chosen was timber. Materials and components all use local technology, and builder and tradesmen are from the Taihape community. The use of prefabricated cross-laminated timber panels was led by the desire for a solid, warm enclosure. Another advantage was the ability to build quickly. The precision-made panels were assembled on site in two days. Followed immediately by fitting the aluminium windows, a weatherproof shell was ready for internal finishing and external cladding in just over a week.