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Monday, September 14, 2009

Form & Forest Cabins

Form & Forest Cabins by D'Arcy Jones Design Inc

The less-than-one-year-old Form & Forest began as a means for combining "good contemporary design" and "the crackle of campfire." British Columbia-based owners Jeff and Ryan Jordan enlisted Vancouver's D'Arcy Jones Design to develop a series of flat pack cabins that will bring clean lines and modern appointments to the woods of Canada and the United States. Thankfully the combination of prefab techniques and small footprints mean minimal disturbance to the natural landscapes by the cabins.

The four cabins include the Cowboy (635sf / 60sm), the Ranger (1,409sf / 130sm), the Trapper (738sf / 70sm), and the Lookout (1,559sf / 145sm). Variation occurs with more than square footage. The Cowboy (images at left) features an open plan that is centered about a small courtyard or light well. In the case of the renderings' hypothetical example, the courtyard allows a tree to be saved and act as the cabin's metaphorical heart. While the courtyard adds expense to the construction costs, it enables more light to enter the plan so the exterior walls can be solid where needed, for services or protection from cold winds.

The Ranger, on the other hand, uses an L-shaped plan and a second floor to give the owner more than double the area. The distinctive profile responds to the snowy conditions of the north woods more than its flat-roofed mates. Its sloping roof also gives it a more vernacular image. The Trapper and the Lookout use shifted rectangles in plan -- the former side-by-side, the latter in section on two floors -- to articulate their functions, openings and outdoor spaces. They are efficient modern dwellings that embrace their surroundings.

While differences exist between the Cowboy and the other models, its renderings help illustrate the consistencies of the different designs. These include the generous outdoor spaces that are nevertheless sheltered by the floors, roofs and walls; the way the cabins appear to float above the forest floor; and the cedar siding and soffits standard on the units. And what they all have in common is a certain irony, of escaping to the woods only to shelter oneself in a hive of modern living. But if one feels the need to do so, then finding sustainable means to do so, like these flat pack cabins, is a good way to go.

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