The Cabin
Floor area:
An overflowing family bach was the catalyst for this self-contained cabin in the bush. Teetering on the verge of Abel Tasman National Park and surrounded by native plantings old and new, the tranquil escape is elevated above the forest floor on six-piled columns to access sweeping views across the bay.

The spectacular location is decidedly remote, only accessible by boat, so the project called for careful planning considerations and design efficiencies. Practicality was prioritised, with many elements prefabricated and transported to the site by barge, hand-carried up the hill then reassembled. Riffing off the rudimentary huts scattered throughout Aotearoa's national parks, the cabin incorporates honest, low-maintenance materials. Wrapped in dark-stained cedar and corten steel, the hardy shell gives way to a softer timber interior, where oversized glazing emphasises its connection to nature. Three interconnected spaces — an enclosed deck, living area and bedroom — flow together in a generous open plan, easily separated by sliding glazed doors and dividers for intimate effect.

The client had a few notable prerequisites for the off-grid escape. The first was an outdoor shower, which hangs amongst the Manuka at the edge of a grated steel walkway. The second, a separate toilet, is found further uphill; its concrete bunker benched into the land with a daring, fully glazed front. The final piece was a sun-drenched roof deck. Extending the corten cladding above the roofline to create a cantilevered balustrade, this airy viewpoint places you above the treeline, looking out over the bay below.
Photography by Sam Hartnett
“An escapist’s dream, the Cabin demonstrates how much you can do with a little.”

“The notion of camping is at the heart of a well-worked plan that reduces space to a minimum but adds delight. The warm interior is crafted like a piece of timber furniture; externally, hardwearing materials connect to site.”

“This durable, low maintenance little gem offers a surprise at every turn. Designed and assembled with love and great care, one cannot help but enjoy this earthy, honest, uplifting, and spiritual building.”

“While incorporating a great many ideas, the result is beautifully distilled, with the design and detailing illustrating a harmony of material relationships and, at the same time, retaining a complexity of spatial experiences.”