Foldaway Writer’s Cabin From Olson Kundig Architects
Olson Kundig Architects created this very tiny writer’s retreat on San Juan Island, Washington, and in fulfilling the brief, they have utilized their typical clear minded approach we’ve noted here previously: Olson Kundig Architects’ Weathered Steel Cabin Makes a Burly Retreat.
The extremely simple and unassuming cabin makes no attempt to disguise that it is a tiny square glass cabin. The very compact structure is just five hundred square feet, with a small kitchenettete and bathroom, but ingeniously organized in such a way that it is accomplished in a modern and unique single room.
The owners wanted the cabin – which is used as a guest cottage as well when the owners are not occupying it – to feel completely open and connected to its seashore setting, the climate, the wildlife and views.
But they also wanted it to be easily secured when not in use. This prompted Olson Kundig Architects to resolve the problem with the originality of this fold up design, so it could be easily packed up into a nondescript box when vacant.
The house is surrounded by three wooden slat decks that can be raised by a hydraulic system of wires, rope, pivoting sheaves and lead blocks which serve as shutters. When open, the shutter decks are outdoor living spaces; when closed they secure the cabin.
The refined interior is unassuming with restrained finishes. A blackened steel inlay bisects the floor from the fireplace to the slot window at the rear of the cabin.
This bold detail creates a focal point in what appears to be a living and working space for writing.
But the Murphy bed occupies the same modern living place – when needed – and it can be popped up out of the way for the day’s writing. This simple, restrained design is one of the best examples of utilisation of small space available, but it doesn’t feel in any way compromised by the efficiency of making double use of the space.