Drew Heath Architect, 2003
This wonderful little abode is such an inspiration for high density/compact living. Tighter constraints, be they budget, size, time, can often be exciting, inspirational starting points for design.
Located in Wollombi, 2.5hrs North of Sydney, the Zig Zag Cabin is more akin to an oversized piece of joinery. The house sleeps three people, two at ground level and one at a mezzanine, reached by a ladder.
Much thought has been given to the windows, which provide framed views of the natural environment surrounds. In such a small project, the detailing of the materials and junctions becomes important, as does the three dimensional use of space.
It is nice to feel enclosed, sheltered, with the opportunity to step outside and engross oneself in the natural elements.
Sometimes I feel that the integrity of a design can dissolve as the floor space or budget of a project grow. A tightly configured puzzle suddenly gains volume and the project changes character.
The success of this project is the strength of the concept, and the purity with which it has been executed. Rumour has it that the design was conceived in a sketch on a beer coaster, and aside from being a good story, perhaps it is representative of the direct translation of idea to building.
If you’re lucky enough to acquire some bush land, surely the most delightful architectural solution is to step back humbly and thrust you into the wilderness?
Don’t seduce the occupant inside; encourage them to embrace their surrounds.
And I think this project does just that. Rather than a territorial statement, narcissistically perched at the top of a hill like a discoverer’s flag, it is instead nestled half way down the hill, surrounded by a small timber deck, then natural bush.
A beautiful architecture, one that withstands trends and fashion, has adaptive usability.. Perhaps fundamentally, sustainable construction is one that will remain for a long time, continuing to enchant us?
See Drew Heath’s website: http://www.drewheath.com
Information and image source, ‘Zig Zag Cabin’, Architecture Australia by Brett Boardman: http://architectureau.com/articles/zig-zag-cabin/