Low impact woodland retreat
Understanding the natural context is vital to the success of this small build. Situated within a private woodland, Daniel has been appointed to design and build two bespoke cabins for cosy weekends away.
With a professional team including an Ecologist, Arboriculturist and a Land Surveyor, the initial stage of the project was to survey the woodland and record the ecology.
What followed was a considered approach to the design of each cabin;
- A number of small clearings were identified as potential cabin locations which offered minimal impact upon the existing ecology.
- Raising the building off the ground level to maintain a ground flora layer and create nesting habitats.
- Restricting the building footprint to reduce the risk of any potential impact upon the surrounding ecology from over sized buildings and excessive vegetation removal.
- Keeping the inside open plan, creates the sense the space being much larger than it actually is.
- Larger areas of glazing to the south and south west elevations connecting the building occupants with the natural surroundings, maximising the amount of natural daylight and solar gain available within the wooded site.
- Solar shading is provided during the height of summer by utilising the surrounding tree canopies and by extending the length of the over hanging eaves detail.
- Timber cladding was the obvious natural choice; a vertical cladding to echo the verticality of the woodland landscape, whilst the type of timber and shingles to the roof covering shall over time weather, ‘silver’ (discolour) and be camouflaged against the natural background.
How to build and service?
Maximising the benefits of off site building, each cabin shall be constructed from man hand-able timber framed panels, delivered to site and erected by a team using small machines to reduce the potential risk of damaging the existing ecology through ground compaction and removal of vegetation for access.
With the benefits of timber framing, and quality controlled construction, the building shall be air tight and well insulated to reduce heating demand and energy consumption. An efficient Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) system shall be installed to control the internal environment. A wood burning stove and solar gain shall provide the buildings heating needs.
Mains electric and water supplies are already onsite from the sites former use. Careful hand excavation of service trenches within tree protection zones shall reduce the risk of any unnecessary damage to tree routes.
Each cabin shall be connected to an efficient sewage treatment plant, utilising aerobic micro-organisms which are naturally found in sewage to break down and dispose of wastewater and sewage in an environmentally safe way.