Cabin Fever: Seven Contemporary Designs from the Hello Wood Festival

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Seven striking new contemporary cabin designs come to us straight from the 2018 ‘Cabin Fever’-themed Hello Wood Festival in Hungary. Students from 65 universities around the world collaborated on the timber prototypes, receiving mentorship and guidance from international architecture studios while getting practical hands-on education in 2D design drawing, materials, tin roofing, insulation and teamwork.

Imaginative and unexpected, the 7 wooden cabins that came out of the project this year allow us all to look at cabin design from fresh new perspectives. Here are details on the top five projects – check out lots more info and two bonus projects at the Hello Wood Festival website.

Vertical Cabin by H3T Architekti

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The Vertical Cabin can be described as a process, not only as a result of work. The object generates an experience when being used and also during its creation. The design builds on the tradition of maypole celebrations in Czech republic. It is built gradually on the ground and then it is raised to its vertical position. However, its location is not final. Cabin equipped with wheels can be relocated anywhere.

Treehouse by frundgallina

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Treehouse is a self-built pavilion.
Treehouse is an archetypical hut that connects architecture to nature by establishing a dialogue between the two.
Treehouse is a Microcosmos, an Existenzminimum.
Treehouse has a downstairs, opened to the surrounding landscape and an upstairs that turns inwards.
Treehouse is a landmark, a lighthouse for travellers that need protection for the night.
Treehouse will be used to share, meditate, play, sing, sleep,make or simply express unity with the primordial world.
Treehouse pays tribute to Gottfried Semper and the four elements of architecture: hearth, roof, enclosure, mound.

Ziggurat Delivery by ZarCola

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Our cabin “Ziggurat Delivery” is designed with the idea, that living in a small house emphasize
the relationship with the outside surrounding. A relationship, that chance in connection with the
climatic seasons.
With this in mind, we designed a cabin that is divided in two independent volume; each one with an independent structure.
These volumes are located one over the other, the one on the top is for sleeping and the one on
the bottom is for the daily common activities.

Cabin Modules by iR Arquitectura

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We will stand at an intermediate point of all the pairs of topics. The cabin is defined by the position of 5 modules that solve the basic functions. The space between modules will be closed with a laminar element that will respond to climatic requirements.
The functions will be:
In all cases they will have thermal and waterproof coating. They will incorporate a solar heating water system, a solar kitchen, a trombe wall, and “moser” solar lamps.
The modules will be manufactured on site, and may have different levels of prefabrication.

I am a Monument by Joseph Garriga + OfficeShopHouse

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I am a monument:

The cabin as an interface that represents lifestyles and contextual material resources.

A platform for personal expression.
The cabin is understood as a reinterpretation of the Laugier’s
primitive hut in a way, to diffuse the limits between interiority and nature. The cabin is shade and shelter. Wood is used as an unique material to built the main skeleton; vernacular materials and constructive techniques defines its skin and domestic devices.

World’s Tallest Timber Tower Currently Under Construction in Vancouver

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It looks as if Vancouver, B.C. could become home to the world’s tallest timber tower by summer 2017, assuming it ’s completed before several other planned projects in Europe. Designed by Acton Ostry Architects, the Brock Commons Student Residence at the University of British Columbia is set to be 53 meters (173.8 feet) tall, with housing for 404 students. This particular plan calls for a hybrid of mass wood and concrete; the two freestanding concrete cores are already built and the wood structure is currently going up around it.

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17 stories of timber will be topped with a prefabricated steel beam and metal deck roof, with all vertical loads carried by the timber and lateral stability provided by the cores. Steel connectors transfer loads between the glulam columns and a grid of cross-laminated timber panels to meet the Canadian building code standards for earthquake-resistant design. Most of the materials in use are prefabricated, enabling the structure to go up at a rate of about one floor per week.

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Designed to meet LEED Gold certification, the sustainable structure aims to stand as a case study for the viability of tall wood structures, ultimately leading to changes in British Columbia’s building codes so even taller wooden skyscrapers can be built. The amount of wood used in the structure will trap an incredible 2,563 tons of carbon, the equivalent of taking 490 cars off the road for a year. That represents a whole lot of potential for environmentally friendly, affordable and easy-to-build wooden superstructures in our future.

The Chelsea Project: High-Rise Wood Condo Tower for NYC

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America’s top metropolis is set to get on board with wooden megastructures, hinting toward a tipping point that’ll boost demand for tall wooden buildings throughout the country. One of the winners of the USDA’s recent tall timber building competition, this ten-story condominium by SHoP Architects is a soaring 120 feet high and will overlook the High Line, the city park built on an old elevated freight rail line.

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Planned for 475 West 18th Street, the project will have retail space on the ground floor in addition to dozens of new gorgeous-looking, modern wood-lined apartments. The environmentally friendly project aims to reduce overall energy consumption by at least 50 percent relative to current energy codes, and will seek LEED Platinum certification.

SHoP architect Chris Sharples notes that “every element of the building, right down to the elevator core, can be constructed in wood.” Aside from the sustainability of its construction, the building is notable for the warmth that its wood facade brings to an urban landscape that can otherwise be quite hard and cold, packed with steel and concrete.

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Boosting the profile of wooden buildings could be a big boon to the entire industry, says U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who announced the winners of the U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition at a press conference in September 2015. A proposal called Framework in Portland, Oregon is the second winner.

“The U.S. wood products industry is vitally important as it employs more than 547,000 people in manufacturing and forestry, with another 2.4 million jobs supported by U.S. private forest owners. By embracing the benefits of wood as a sustainable building material, these demonstration projects have the ability to help change the face of our communities, mitigate climate change and support jobs in rural America. I look forward to seeing how these two buildings help lead the way in furthering the industry.”

Wooden Buildings Fight Climate Change by Sequestering Carbon

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Not only is wood a naturally sustainable, renewable material – it can actually help the fight against climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide, while concrete manufacturing pumps the potent greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Sustainable Forestry confirmed that switching to wood construction is a boon for the environment in several different ways, stressing that sustainable forest management creates jobs and reduces the risk of forest fires, too. And as a matter of fact, increasing wood harvests could actually lead to greater benefits.

“The 3.4 billion cubic meters of wood harvested each year accounts for only 20% of new annual growth,” reads the study. “Increasing the wood harvest to 34% or more would have several profound and positive effects. Emissions amounting to 14-31% of global CO2 would be avoided by creating less steel and concrete, and by storing CO2 in the cell structure of wood products. A further 12-19% of annual global fossil fuel consumption would be saved, including savings from burning scrap wood and unsellable materials for energy.”

The study was undertaken by scientists from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the University of Washington’s College of the Environment. The results make it clear that using wood to build large-scale architectural and infrastructure projects, from skyscrapers to bridges, is an essential step to sustainably meeting demand for new construction as economic development surges, especially in places like Asia, Africa and South America.

Meanwhile, new construction techniques are making wood even stronger and more versatile, especially cross-laminated timber, which is at the center of all the new record-breaking multi-story wood buildings that are currently being built or planned around the world. While most of that development is happening in Europe, Portland, Oregon is currently the center of wood construction innovation in the United States, according to Newsweek. The tallest wood-framed buildings in the country are currently in progress there as local timber product manufacturers make CLT from regionally produced wood.

Top image: A new 12-story mixed-use wooden building planed for Portland, Oregon by Lever Architecture.

As Lumber Industry Recovers from Recession, Wood Projects Begin to Boom


The lumber industry is bouncing back from the 2008 recession at a slow and steady pace that has experts hopeful of a full recovery within the next couple years. Many mill owners and lumber retailers are reporting increasing sales, feeling cautiously optimistic about the potential for regaining the business that was lost when the economy crashed. It’ll probably take a while to get back to the historical highs the industry reached in 2004-2006, but in the meantime, growth seems particularly notable in the DIY sector.

According to fresh figures from the Institute for Supply Management, makers of wood products are among the top performers in a swath of industries that expanded in February 2016, suggesting that manufacturers are gaining economic traction across the board.


Low lumber prices mean tight margins for producers right now, but they’re leading to a spike in interest in wood-centric construction projects. While the price of lumber has risen over the last two years, it’s still phenomenally low, encouraging many consumers to choose wood instead of steel or concrete when building their own projects. Slow housing recovery is projected to cap domestic lumber markets this year, predicts Forest2Market, a wood supply chain management firm, but it’s only a matter of time before lower unemployment levels lead to a boost in demand for housing.

Meanwhile, officials around the world are adjusting building codes to allow for taller wood buildings, opening the door to a whole new era of wood construction. Experts are calling it ‘the dawning of the timber age,’ predicting that wood will overtake steal and concrete in new construction, especially in urban centers where wooden high-rises are seen as the sustainable, renewable, aesthetically superior wave of the future.

Top image via Wikimedia Commons

Classic Cottages Made Modern: Stylish Wood in Vermont

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This group of beautiful cottages on the Marlboro College campus in Vermont take visual cues from the college’s traditional architecture, echoing centuries of Vermont traditions, while updating them for the modern era. Designed by HGA Architects, the cottages provide cozy and comfortable housing for classical musicians who come to collaborate with students during a seven-week summer festival.

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Located on a 15-acre site adjacent to the campus, the five cottages feature an archetypal chimney-topped gable shape that has been seen in the New England countryside since it was first settled by the British. Outside, thin horizontal strips of wood in varying shades give the cottages visual interest and dimension.

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Inside, they’re constructed almost entirely of local Eastern White Pine and Vermont slate. Long pine beams stretch up to the apex of the high ceiling, the simplicity of the naturally finished wood paying tribute to the tradition of rustic cabins yet feeling very fresh, open and modern.

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Large operable windows open up the cabins to the outdoors, providing the perfect place to soak up a little inspiration before creating a musical masterpiece.