Wooden Cabins at a Catskills Resort Let You “Camp” in Luxurious Style

Piaule Catskill view

Love the idea of camping, but not the reality? Then well-appointed cabins that give you expansive views of a scenic setting are exactly what you’re looking for. A boutique hotel called Piaule Catskill in Catskills, New York grants its guests an opportunity to commune with nature without sacrificing the comforts of home – or, ideally, while eclipsing them. Designed by Garrison Architects and created by Nolan McHugh and Trevor Briggs, Paul Catskill features 24 wooden cabins, each of which has its own massive floor-to-ceiling window to take in the wooded landscape.

Piaule Catskill main house exterior
Piaule Catskill glass front

The cabins are set adjacent to a main communal house and spa, accessible via short footpaths from the parking lot. Each one measures 375 square feet and includes its own ensuite bathroom with heated floors, organic linens from Portugal, Japanese glassware and minimalist furniture. The wall-to-wall glass end of the cabin slides open to offer direct access to the outdoors, making the bedrooms feel like a screen porch. “These windows are designed to present visitors with the sensory atmosphere of outdoor camping from the comfort of an indoor cabin, and awe them with views of the sun setting over the picturesque mountains,” say the architects.

Piaule Catskill cabin bedroom
Piaule Catskill wood wall
Piaule Catskill wood wall

The cabins themselves are made in modular wooden sections transported up the site and craned into their locations for minimal site disturbance in order to protect local wildlife. Some of them can be connected together with a “joiner” living room to create two-bedroom suites. Inside the main house, guests can lounge, dine, drink at the bar, read and gather by a fireplace. The spa offers a steam rom, sauna, massage, yoga and fitness room as well as a hot tub overlooking the western view.

Piaule Catskill main house
Piaule Catskill spa

“The Piaule Landscape Retreat encourages visitors to continue their exploration beyond the hotel grounds, which are meant to be traversed on foot with nature trails that loop in and out of the surrounding woods and wetlands. There are a wide range of hiking and other outdoor adventure opportunities nearby, and the small city of Hudson, New York is within a 30-minute drive. The landscape hotel is designed to foster interaction among visitors in communal spaces, while allowing them to relax at the spa and retreat to private cabins, providing an ideal getaway amidst the scenic backdrop of the Catskill Mountains.”

Stunning Before & After: Beach House Transformed with Horizontal Wood Siding

Metamorphosis horizontal wood facade cantilever

The owners of a beach house in Algarrobo, Chile wanted a dramatic makeover that would expand the available space and give it a whole new look without significantly changing the layout, which provides amazing views of the ocean. They turned to architects Jose Ulloa Davet and Delphine Ding to complete the renovation, and the result is pretty incredible. The architects not only created a helical path of circulation leading from the lowest deck to the rooftop of the highest volume, they gave the home a whole new ventilated timber skin. This horizontal wood siding instantly freshens the house up and makes it look more modern.

Metamorphosis horizontal wood facade rooftop terrace
Metamorphosis horizontal wood facade before and after

The original design of the house featured three volumes of increasingly larger square footage and taller heights, stacked one in front of the other. The smaller volumes had gabled roofs, while the larger volume had a steep shed roof. Davet and Ding eliminated the middle volume, instead stretching a staircase between the small one in the front and the large one in the back, creating a new sheltered outdoor space. Now you can walk right up from the lower deck to a secondary rooftop terrace, and then further up onto the roof of a newly cantilevered box.

Metamorphosis horizontal wood facade view of ocean
Metamorphosis horizontal wood facade roof side view

Windows on either side of this cantilevered space point directly at ocean views in three directions, almost like a giant telescope. The new layout creates an intuitively flowing patchwork of indoor and outdoor spaces, and the roof terraces offer access to panoramic views of the stunning scenery. Meanwhile, all that horizontal wood ties it together beautifully. What a cool way to update an older home!

Metamorphosis horizontal wood facade indoor space
Metamorphosis horizontal wood facade outdoor space

The architects explain how they came up with the idea for this timber facade.

“The skin on the project is designed as an autonomous unit, through modulated square openings with measures based on a 30 cms. module and a skin with a changing rhythm. New areas of the house blend into the existing through the ventilated timber skin. Whose function is to avoid accumulations of water and moisture in the structure wall.”

Designing for Deconstruction: A Way to Make Wood Even More Sustainable

Wood tends to outlast the buildings it’s crafted into, no matter how long they’re in use. Then it’s either tossed into a landfill or rescued for reuse, minus whatever damage occurred during demolition. But what if we designed every single building with the assumption that someday, someone will want to tear it down and build something new? That concept is called Design for Deconstruction (or Design for Disassembly, DfD), and it maximizes the long term usability of building materials while minimizing waste. DfD can be applied to all kinds of materials, but it’s especially useful with wood due to wood’s natural carbon sequestration properties, which help hold onto carbon instead of releasing it into the atmosphere.

“First, wood is a renewable resource and its growth takes place through photosynthesis and not through mining or extraction,” says ArchDaily. “Trees grow in almost all climates, and using local species can greatly reduce the amount of energy expended on transport. When a tree is harvested to make lumber and engineered wood, it stores carbon in the building. When another tree is planted in its place, it will also absorb and store carbon.”

“Because wood is versatile and durable, it can be disassembled and then reassembled into other buildings or other wood fiber products, sequestering the carbon even longer as long as it stays out of landfills. Even if it doesn’t have a construction use, wood can be turned into various valuable bio-based products, such as biochar, which can replace coal and also be used as an agricultural fertilizer.”

Here’s a brilliant example. The Olympic Village Plaza currently in use in Tokyo was built using 40,000 pieces of donated timber from governments across Japan, which is pretty cool in its own right. But all the lengths of  cypress, cedar and larch that make up this 5,300-square-meter temporary village were stacked together in ways that will make it easy to take them apart later, while also drawing on ancient Japanese design aesthetics. When the building is no longer needed, it will be dismantled and the wood will be returned to the municipalities that donated it to be reused in local construction projects.

When you look at the building, you can see how it’s constructed almost like a puzzle. Slotting materials together in ways that meet building codes and could last for many decades but also enable the reuse of almost every component is the future of building, and finding creative new ways to do it could lead to some awesome new designs.

Read all about Design for Deconstruction and why it’s so important for the future of architecture at ArchDaily.

Butterfly-Shaped Healing Resort with a Walkable Roof

In Hangzhou, China, all-wood interiors create a feeling of warmth and coziness within a concrete and aluminum shell at this unusual wellness resort. Designed to complement the natural environment of the mountain forest, the butterfly-shaped FUNGZEN Forest Healing Resort by architecture firm TAOA beckons visitors inside with a lantern-like glow.

Healing resort china walkable roof

The architects aimed to create a thoroughly modern space that also integrates into the terrain with ease. The building is laid out as two sloped volumes with connected corners with V-shaped cuts facing two distant views within the valley to visually and emotionally anchor the space to nature. “The other two sides of the building are embedded in the mountain, and the channel of stream and mountain road is still reserved under the overhead butterfly-shaped building,” the architects explain.

Healing resort china tree emerging
Healing resort china butterfly shape

That’s right – a stream passes right beneath the narrowest part of the building, with huge windows overlooking it on either side. Trees are also a primary feature, with the building designed around them in many spots so they pierce into the interiors and emerge from the roof. Speaking of the roof, one of this resort’s coolest features is the fact that you can walk right out onto it in areas where the slope is gentle enough to mimic the land around it. A glass railing keeps the views as open as possible. Inside, the shapes of each interior space are dynamic and unexpected, each one organically arranged around its resident tree. 

Healing resort china stream
Healing resort china living spae

“All-in-one wooden material provides a warm and comfortable building lining and a pleasant living atmosphere, which is in contrast with the wild interest of external nature. This contrast makes people sensitive to nature and can feel the beauty of nature, either tender and delicate, or harsh and cold.”

Healing resort china interior wood

“The interior is designed to have different elevations. Not defined by partition walls, different living contents are separated by heights, thus maintaining relative independence and creating rich changes in space, which are also reflected in the external forms of buildings to adapt to the different slopes of mountains.”

Healing resort china dining
Healing resort china cutouts

“ The size of space is defined by the human body, and the walls and roofs of buildings are within reach. This kind of space experience close to a camping tent always makes people feel that nature is close at hand, only separated by the thickness of an outer wall.”

All-Timber Neighborhood Fuses the Best of Urban and Rural Living

What would your neighborhood look and feel like if it were redesigned to be sustainable and made almost entirely of wood – while also retaining the local and regional characteristics that make it special? Architecture firm Henning Larsen provides some fertile inspiration for all of us with Faelledby, an all-timber neighborhood for Copenhagen fusing traditional Danish urban and rural architectural typologies to create a new kind of “hybrid neighborhood” prioritizing connection to each other and to nature.

People living in cities usually benefit from proximity to resources, like jobs, schools, hospitals, shopping and cultural attractions. Rural villagers, on the other hand, might be isolated from some of these things, but they tend to know each other a little better, and have a lot more outdoor space to roam. Henning Larsen’s new timber neighborhood aims to balance the best of both, integrating the landscape organically into the plan.

“The Vejlands community will be entirely timber construction, with individual buildings featuring birdhouses and animal habitats integrated within the building facades.”

Their choice of wood is both aesthetic and strategic. The renderings show how beautifully it’s worked into every aspect of the design, from scenic overlooks and rooftop gardens to boardwalks that wind through wetland areas.

“Compared to alternative materials such as steel or concrete, timber captures and stores CO2 during its growth – as a building material, it active removes CO2 from the environment as it is produced,” the architects explain. “Fælledby is the latest in a resurgence of timber construction throughout Scandinavia, as the region sets a global example for sustainable contemporary architecture. “

Lumber Company Shows Off Its Product with an Incredible Log Facade

Bruckner Ziegler wood products headquarters

Naturally, when wood processing companies are designing their offices, they’re almost always going to put the focus on their products. It’s an opportunity to show off, impressing visitors from the moment the building comes into sight. One of Europe’s industry greats, Ziegler Group, did an especially outstanding job of this with their new headquarters in the Upper Palatinate region of Germany, set on the exact site where the company started its very first sawmill. Architecture firm Brückner and Brückner has created an unforgettable facade screen made of natural logs that sets the mood and creates shade for the interiors beyond the all-glass walls. At night, when the light shines through them, the building looks like a giant lantern.

Bruckner Ziegler log facade

“The company group’s business divisions also include logistics, mechanical engineering, software development, forest management, interior design and the construction of prefabricated houses, with quite a few locations and approximately 1400 employees. In the search for a suitable location in the forest surrounding the sawmill, we, together with the builders, asked ourselves: what exactly do we want growing here, and where? And we found the perfect spot: at the highest point of the plot, where forest and production space intersect. After engaging in collective workshops, an idea was born: We would take the earliest product from the Ziegler product range, a tree stem of spruce soaring 19 meters high and build a house from it.”

Bruckner Ziegler terrace
bruckner ziegler office wood surfaces

“From the outside, you can almost hear the musical score of the Ziegler products playing in unison, a rhythmic procession of logs surrounding the building like lines of musical notes. The wood serves as a natural filter, both from the inside and outside, with additional shade thanks to a textile that provides protection from the sun, and at the core, a façade made of glass, wood and metal. The two cubes are raised up with felling cuts, like the stem of a tree, with two inner courtyards between them. Each employee has their own window. This concept is continued throughout the structure’s interior, the quality of the wood becomes increasingly more refined and the house makes all subsequent steps in the processing of the wood visible, from the raw wood of the counters, to the refined wooden surfaces of the office furniture.”

Bruckner Ziegler wood spiral staircase
Bruckner Ziegler log office

Other notable features include a dramatic spiraling wooden staircase, sculptural lumber installations on the walls and ceilings, cross-laminated timber surfaces and thoughtfully framed views of the forest from just about every room. It’s quite a sight, in fact, to gaze out the windows through the logs of the facade onto the thousands upon thousands in the log yard outside. It’s unusual to see logs used on a contemporary building this way, but doesn’t it look great?