The cabin design was initially conceived as a rugged weekend getaway for two. However, during the course of the design process, the two grew to become a family of three, then four. The faceted geometry of the cabin reflects this evolution - a cantilevering form that is both elemental yet appears to be in constant transformation depending on one’s vantage point. It is shaped both by its surroundings and by its occupants, making a lasting connection between what is there and what is to come.
What were the key challenges?
The White Mountains are among the most rugged in New England, with granite outcroppings populating the range. While the site, selected on one of several scouting hikes, was seemingly treacherous and unbuildable, the design solution proves this untrue.
What was the brief?
For the owner of Q-Drinks, a Boston-based company specializing in making superior cocktail sodas out of only authentic ingredients, it was imperative that the design for a weekend retreat nestled in the mountains of New Hampshire be equally authentic.
What are the sustainability features?
The 900 sf cabin perches on a granite outcropping, projecting precariously over a steep drop-off to afford dramatic eastern views across the valley below. Instead of leveling the granite ledge, the topography is embraced; the cantilevering structure is lifted on 9 hand-poured concrete footings - a system selected in order to tread lightly on the sloped site. Working closely with Fire Tower Engineered Timber and Bensonwood, all wood framing members were engineered and CNC-cut before being delivered to the site wrapped, labeled, and ready for assembly. This approach of modular prefabrication dramatically shortened construction time and reduced site disturbance. Once assembly was complete, minimal trees were cleared - just enough to provide specific views of the prominent peaks through an 24ft wide sliding window wall.
What building methods were used?
As a potential prototype for future mass production, the design and construction were empowered by prefabrication technologies and techniques. This allowed a freedom to explore complex geometries which were then clad with conventional building materials such as standing-seam aluminum panels and tongue-and-groove cedar boards.
This project presents an alternative take on the conception that prefabrication simply allows one to do the same for cheaper. Here, the architects use prefabrication to do more for the cost of conventional construction. Enhanced by skewed geometries and bold angles, the end-product is fully customized, both for the client and for the site.