The Cabin is a small timber structure dealing with the challenges of uniting organic and milled geometries, demountability and reversible joinery, and the use of inherent timber properties. It exercises an approach to pre-fabrication and construction that embeds the logic of its assembly into a series of discrete components. Drawing a lineage from previous buildings (eg. the Wood Chip Barn) and workflows developed at Hooke Park, the Cabin aims to resolve ambitious design and fabrication techniques at a domestic scale.
The primary structure touches down on a series of concrete pads that were inherited as a feature of the chosen site. It consists of four columns connected by a bracing element. Composed of organic branching components, robotic fabrication and novel techniques in roundwood carpentry were employed to articulate a series of timber to timber connections that fit digitally fabricated joints with those crafted by hand. Robotic fabrication was used to establish multiple datums along a complex form, allowing the organic geometry to act as the primary locator for the envelope.
The envelope consists of a floor and four panels. The floor acts as a rigid diaphragm, transferring lateral loads to the vertical columns. The panels interlock with each other and the floor through joints along their seams, located globally by joints on the primary structure. Four pre-determined openings in the envelope orient the building to its site, providing a dynamic point of entry and a layered arrangement of views that expand the internal space into the external vistas of landscape and sky.
Upon the completion of its construction, a loosely planned internal layout directed an initial exploration of built-in furnishings. The feature in these is a robotically sculpted ceramic hearth, which was the culmination of research in preparing and firing clay extracted from a local river bed. With these furnishings the cabin begins to function as an informal domestic space for students and staff to inhabit and augment as they please.