CANTILEVER CABINS CONCEPT / by Jamie Warne

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How do you make a sea view even more dramatic? Build a cabin that is cantilevered over the shore, of course!

The Concept

The general idea was to build two seperate but similar cabins on a fictional rocky outcrop on a coastline somewhere in Europe. The style is very similar to some modern cabins found particularly in Scandinavian regions which is where I found my inspiration. The larger of the two cabins is the main residence, whilst the smaller structure is the studio - the pair being connected by a meandering boardwalk.

The most crucial element as always (in my opinion, that is) was siting the building correctly. As I was working with a fictional location in mind, I had more choice over this than might otherwise be the case. Regardless, the buildings were orientated so that they faced mainly south to make the most out of the sunlight. To prevent the structures causing unwanted shadows on one another, they were angled around 90 degrees apart. As a bonus, this also creates a wider view towards the south between the two buildings.

I envisaged this as predominantly an artists' residence and studio, but it could equally be used by almost anyone, especially those in creative fields. Alternately, with a few changes to the studio building, the pair could be used as a holiday home - all that would need changing is the addition of a bed where the work area of the studio currently is. Both buildings feature at least one balcony for use mainly in the summer months, but also copious amounts of full height doors and glazing to make the most of the views.


The Cabin (Residence)

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The cabin is a 9.6m x 3m structure (not including the two balconies which each protrude 1m further), built from two trapezoid cross-sectioned halves joined together to form a shallow 'V' shape. Half of each section is cantilevered over the foreshore which appears to create a sense of floating in the air when you're inside. This cantilever also creates the raised floor levels above them - helping to split up the space without actually having to box in each room using walls. This keeps the interior light and airy no matter the time of day.

Siting the bathroom just past the mid way point of the cabin gives a natural break between the living areas and sleeping area, and means it can be shut off easily for privacy whilst still retaining a private balcony.

The kitchen has plenty of storage despite its small size, and it even has room for a full height fridge. A small breakfast bar makes up for the lack of a dining table, and also doubles as a small workstation . The lounge area has room for a decent sized sofa, coffee table and also features a log burner for cold winter nights. The full height sliding/folding glass doors open up the room to the outside views.


The Studio

The cabin is a 6.4m x 3m structure, comprising of two sections - the main studio space (which is the same size as half of the cabin), plus an additional wetroom on the back. It also features full height sliding/folding doors on the balcony and the side wall, plus another log burner to keep it warm in the winter months.

The lower area of the main space is, in this example, in use as a lounge area. This includes a storage chest, whiteboard, bookshelf, plenty of storage cupboards, and a sofa and coffee table. The sofa enjoys a view across the boardwalk to the ocean.

The wetroom makes this studio perfect for messy hobbies, our perhaps cleaning off outdoor sports gear etc. It also means should this structure be turned into a guest room, there is easy access to a bathroom without having to brave the outdoors in the middle of the night to go to the cabin.

In this example, the upper area is the hobby/work area of an artist - with an easel, drying rack, and a utility sink filling up the space. In reality, it would probably be best to get rid of the sink as it reduces the amount of usable space - and since you already have a wetroom in this structure it is not strictly necessary. Blinds control the amount of light coming in through the full height glass sliding/folding doors.

Below I've shown another possible use - borrowing furniture from my previous carriage design, I've turned it into an architectural design office - with a view!


Future potential

Whilst the cantilever makes for a more complex build, it wouldn't be a far stretch to imagine the basic shell as having the potential for modular approach - particularly if the sub-base was made using steel sections instead of concrete. The larger structure above is made from two identically sized/shaped sections - one being a combined kitchen/lounge, and the other a combined bedroom/wetroom. I can imagine multiple such sections being placed around a central "hub" module - the number of sides would depend on the number of additional units needed. A triangular section obviously resulting in a 3-pronged building for example.

Other potential ideas included adding skylights to bring in even more natural light, solar panels or other alternative renewable energy sources onto the roof, and even a covered or semi-covered walkway to join the two structures together in place of the boardwalk. I can imagine a corridor clad mainly in glass with the occasional pillar surrounded in the same cladding as the exterior of the structures would not only look great, but would also make for a pleasant way to seperate the cabin and studio whilst minimising visual impact on the natural landscape.