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Cork Cabin

The Cork Cabin interprets the typology of the traditional vineyard shelter, a small vernacular structure used by workers as a temporary resting place. Many of these in the Loire region have today been re-appropriated as resting places for cyclists along the popular Loire á Vélo cycle route. This competition proposes a new site for a shelter in the riverside town of Chouzé-sur-Loire.

The brief stipulated extremely tight maximum dimensions. For this reason our proposal is conceived as a jewellery box. When unoccupied, the earthy cork mass acquires a sculptural quality as it delicately rests on the riverbank, nestling into its natural surroundings. As weary cyclists arrive the monolithic object unfolds to reveal its treasured contents, a welcoming shelter for day or night. 

The entire structure is fabricated from lightweight natural materials; expanded cork blocks shield the Structurally Insulated Panel (SIPS) envelope and the interior is lined with timber sheet materials. The cork exterior is cut open at specific points allowing fold-out panels to provide additional usable space, shelter from the elements and choreographed views of the landscape. 

The Cork Cabin is designed to have minimal environmental impact. Both timber and cork act as substantial carbon sinks and the proposal incorporates a highly insulated wall build up, ensuring it is a thermally efficient and low carbon structure. With the additions of a wood burning stove, chairs and beds, the Cork Cabin will be a warm and comfortable shelter for intrepid cyclists passing through Chouzé–sur-Loire.

Status: Competition Entry
Client: La Jeune Chambre Economique de Tours
& La Maison de l'Architecture du Centre
Location: Chouzé-sur-Loire, France