Petit Cabanon

Submission for

RIBAJ Microarchitecture Award in association with SterlingOSB (2015)

Petit Cabanon

Cabanon Competition.jpg

in.tents retreat: The Bay Window meets the Strandkorb


We approached the question of our ’Cabanon’ by imagining what an ideal setting for a retreat might be. Immediately we thought of The Bay Window. How comfortable it is to sit back and read a book or jot down one’s thoughts whilst lounging within the confines of a bay window. Another image that played an important part in setting the tone for our retreat was the German seaside hut or ‘Strandkorb’ that we have come across upon our travels to the Baltic Sea. This clever construct, secured by design during the off season, opens up to create a home away from home for a day during the beach season.Our ‘Cabanon’ was therefore designed as a yoga or reading or writing or chocolate eating retreat for a solitary individual. The in.tents retreat could just as easily be positioned away from one’s house at the bottom of the garden as within an enchanted forest or upon a crest overlooking the sea. The idea was that The Bay Window would act as a looking glass for the purposes of introspection as well as extrospection. Furthermore it was designed to be an enclosed space that could be opened up to provide a setting that could more readily interacted with the outdoor environment.

The nuts and bolts (and wood chips) of the matter

Unsurprisingly (perhaps) it just so happened that Norbord Sterling OsB provided us with much of the inspiration for many of the ideas behind the creation of the in.tents retreat. The product seems to express the process from which it was made and we tried to complement this.

Structure: For a start we began with a standard sheet size. A single panel formed the ideal module for a single person retreat. It is envisaged that boards could be sandwiched together and filled with wood chips and/or sawdust to form insulated panels. The choice of the wood chips (e.g. cedar chips, pine chips) could lend themselves to help create the character of the retreat through the user’s olfactory senses.

Cladding: It was felt that the texture of the OsB material was quite expressive in itself and we wondered whether there might be scope within the manufacturing process to create boards with different textural finishes - rough or smooth; light or dark - through a variation in the type of wood chips and or resin used. This would be the ideal. Otherwise we thought that finishing techniques such as adding pigments, stamping or perhaps chroming might be employed.

Internally: We imagined a solid surface that was deconstructed by little cubby holes, slots, cut-outs, fold-out sections etc. - like a 3 dimensional puzzle. These would contain all valuables associated with such a retreat  such as a yoga mat, a cup, a seat, a table, etc.

Base or Bedding: It was envisage that the retreat could sit on a bedding of wood chips that might reinforce the process of tree to pulp to board.