Architects: Maguire + Devine Architects
Project: Off-Grid Tiny Cabin / Bruny Island Hideaway
Team: Dan Devine, Hugh Maguire
Principal builder: George Morozoff
Builder: Merlin Constructions
Location: Alonnah, Bruny Island, Tasmania
Photographer: Rob Maver
Materials: Baltic pine, Merbau, Zincalume
Tucked away in a clearing surrounded by 99 acres of forest, this off-grid tiny cabin is an escape from the high stress of our client’s busy work life. Born in Taiwan, she spent her childhood in traditional Japanese houses (built during occupation). Out of this grew a love for highly crafted minimalist design. Our brief was to capture that and design a building as a piece of furniture with everything she needs built in. The only furniture allowed was a low table and mattress on the sleeping loft.
With long views to the south and tall trees to the north, the cabin opens onto an east and west deck, capturing morning and afternoon sun while affording views to the south. A high roof allowed solar panels and a skylight to catch sun from over the trees. Internally, light coloured timber creates a warm, cosy sense of enclosure, referencing not only Japanese architecture, but remote wilderness cabins from all over the world, creating a real sense of ‘otherness’ and escape.
Merlin Constructions provided advice throughout the design and documentation process, offering assistance with the practicality of construction, cost analysis and material selections. Significant hurdles that needed to be overcome during construction were a strict budget, a bushfire attack level subject to construction requirements, a Swift Parrot habitat requiring special consideration, and the absence of mains power. In addition the remote location was only accessible by a four-wheel-drive track. Merlin Constructions were very satisfied with the result and thrilled to receive the 2017 award in its category.