Blur the Lines

Community Forest International is building a Rural Innovation Campus on it’s 235 hectare farm & forest property in Kings County, New Brunswick – a platform for life-long learners and innovators to develop the positive solutions we need most today.

But first things first - how is CFI to accommodate students, guests and inventors at it’s fledgling Rural Innovation Campus in a way that best reflects the organization’s principles and vision? At CFI we often look to the land for inspiration, and to natural systems for design solutions. So, can our buildings blur the lines between humans and nature?

We put this question to the world, and invited students, professionals, dreamers, and DIYers alike to design the first building on campus – a backwoods cabin of the future. This gallery is the response we received; a tremendous collective expression of art and innovation that explores how humans might get back to nature in the 21st century.

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001 - Simple Retreat

The pattering of rain on a roof. The warmth of a wood fire on cold feet. The cool touch of a window on a winter's night. The tranquil peace of staring into the forest beyond. The embedded quality of a well crafted detail. These are...

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002 - Tiptoe Cabin

The night sky

animals shuffling and crashing

in the dark

birdsong at dawn

walking out into the dew

the wet earth smell

of the forest.


With a simple structure, the tiptoe cabin...

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003 - Cabin Unfolded

The concept behind a backwoods cabin is to create a place for people to lose oneself and connect with nature. Traditionally, such cabins served as a resting place for its occupants, a backdrop to the primary focus of the surrounding....

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004 - ShelteRelax

ShelteRelax is conceived as a cozy retreat for meditation and for renewing your connection to the earth. It may serve for a rest after a long walk in the nature, or rather as an inspiring setting for thinking, writing, dreaming.


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005 - Sustainable Cabin

The place of the project is located in a mountainous area, specifically in a forest. We consider the relationship between human and nature is very important.

The main idea of our project is to create a house that has direct...

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006 - Cob Coconut Cottage

The inspiration for this concept originates from one of Tanzania's largest industries, the coconut industry. The intention of this project is to bring mindfulness and balance to mono cultured crop implantations, family farms, natural systems,...

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007 - ‘Happy Jane’ Permayurt

In this cabin design, we endeavor to evoke feelings of a life lived in close association with the forest, not unlike the forest cabins of fables, home to the woodcutter, or home to the herbalist.  Technically, we were driven to incorporate...

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008 - Framing Nature

This proposal Framing Nature is an attempt to connect to the local history and wisdom through rethinking initial objectives of the abode. Our design is inspired from traditional wigwam, its material and building methods. The traditional shelter...

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009 - The Tree House

this small backwoods cabin is for two researchers or students. it raises the guests up to the level of the trees, allowing them to directly interact with and study the natural environment that surrounds them. the cabin is as close to the...

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010 - A Forest Studio

The concept of building that blurs the lines between humans and nature - is cost effective, reflects our history and unique natural environment and allows for personal expression would be a true work of art.



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011 - Pyramid Pit Cabin

Inspired by the pit houses of the Okanogan aboriginal tribes, this house design is simple in form and simple in construction. Accentually a buried pyramid with the south wall open for exposure and a central skylight, this building will...

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012 - De Berkenhut

The overall design concept of our backwoods cabin is a simple transparant structure with rotating side panels using an umbrella-like mechanism. These panels can be closed down or opened up, depending on the weather conditions or on the...

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013 - Team QA

The concept of this cabin design was based on passive solar principals. The design is linear with a large window at the south façade and a concrete mass wall at the north. The goal with the mass wall is to collect heat from the south...

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014 - Whaelghinbran Nomadic Cabin

Humans are nature too; however, the connection between humans and nature could be strengthened. A backwoods cabin is the ideal host.

The Whaelghinbran Cabin attempts to blur lines between nature and the built environment...

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015 - K.I.S.,S.

Design Intent

The goal of this design is the create a simple cabin that lives up to the most ethical building standards I am aware of while fitting into the design targets and constraints outlined by the competition. Those...

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016 - the quality of space

Walking towards the forest nature shows no signs  of human settlement, only a glimpse of smoke hints the existance of life.

On the way to discovering what is ahead, objects in the surroundings reveals its scale, uncovering the...

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017 - Culled Cabin

The Culled Cabin provides accomodation in a compact archetypal form composed of finger-jointed 8”x8” timber bents. Ideally, the timber for the bents could be culled from the site in the strategic pruning of the area as described in...

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018 - Point of View

Point of View is the name of our backwoods cabin.

Fascinated by the enchanting landscape of New Brunswick in Canada, we think of this cabin as a place that would allow local operators, students, innovators and guests to enjoy the scenery...

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019 - Cabin IZE

As a child, my backyard was my playground and the forest was my wonder land.  

What the forest created for me was an experience and I realized that most of my memories as a child, even the memories that stick with me now, were...

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020 - shelter in the forest of the fairy

This building is created by the earth of the site. This building made of the technique to be called a tamping earth is hybrid structure of concrete and the earth. The icon such as the mushroom or the crystal stands from the ground. In this...

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021 - An Artificial Tree

Our project tries to combine the cabin typology (a small , energy efficient and low-budget space) with a new experience of the forest, as a multi-layered landscape, more connected to the nature. Following this guideline our cabin is not a single...

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022 - Tower

To be in the natural world elicits many emotional responses such as wonder, calm or excitement. Tromping around the woods as a kid, I felt at home. I developed an instinctual urge to protect nature, conserving it as an important place....

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023 - Marlice

The backwoods cabin blends into the white pine forest on a ridge, facing the South. Slightly off the ground, on six point supports, it fits in the direction of the slope and topography; the multifaceted roof offers a south-facing surface. The...

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024 - Sunergy

The Sunergy Cabin was designed to house two occupants year round with the goal of using sustainable/natural products that are locally available, while reducing the amount of fuel required for supplemental heating. This cabin uses a number of...

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025 - Burnt Offering

Burnt Offering Team

In taking on the challenge to design this back-woods cabin our goal was to create a building embodying CFI's core values, bringing together a broadly sustainable approach to design with the provision of...

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026 - blur

blur the lines . . .

The backwoods cabin sits on a south facing slope amongst the shadows of the Acadian forest. A timber frame clad with dark stained wood slats, it is a rural retreat and an instrument for observing the...

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027 - NC3

Brief explanation of NC3

The aim of the NC3 project is to combine the requirements of contemporary backwoods cabin space with an environmental strategy that is sustainable, and cost-effective.

The project has been...

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028 - Speculative Cabin

The Speculative Cabin starts with the approach to the site. One walks the existing trail through the woods and approaches the structure from the broad side where the vertical lines of the wood ribs create the pitched silhouette of a...

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029 - Wrap It Up

Wrap it Up investigates how a small forest cabin can have the smallest impact on the ecosystem while providing adequate space for living. By combining eager youthful ingenuity, fundamental historical practices, and...

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030 - Acadian Abstraction

Acadian abstraction: Experiencing nature from immersion to abstraction

Located in the heart of the Acadian forest, the proposed structure is intended as a destination for students, researchers, and nature...

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031 - hug a tree

My main inspiration for the project was a functionality of the tree.  I wanted to design a house that has an similar attractive quality to the attractiveness of big trees. 

This shelter is located deep in forest. In my project I...

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032 - Climate Cabin

The Climate Cabin addresses multiple facets and requests from the program and project descriptions facilitating: non-toxic timber construction, passive solar heating and cooling, PV battery and conduit storage, and an assembly that will...

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033 - VitaLift

The essence of innovation is the process of taking old ideas and reinventing them. Since the site is located in New Brunswick, where it is the historical origin of the Acadians, the design of the cabin has taken inspiration from different...

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034 - Helios Cabin

Being elevated into the forest, allows this backwoods cabin to situate itself between two realms of all-encompassing nature—the ground beneath and the sky above it. Between the earth and atmosphere is where an interstitial...

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035 - Solstice Cabin

This pavilion serves as a gathering place for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers. Designed around the celebration of a midsummer solstice, the project’s form is inspired by the sun’s relationship with the horizon....

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036 - Salix


is the willow genus which turns this shelter in the woods into a living structure. Both wall and ornament, this branch will shade, shelter and control views to the surrounding landscape. By minimizing the contained space to a...

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037 - Cabinbatchkids



In today’s world of asphalt, suburban sprawl, and skyscrapers, one might forget the deep, intimate connection humans have with nature. Architecture today tends to disregard...

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038 - Panorama Cabin

Walk through the forest. Reach the shelter. Process the information. 

The small space of the floor plan accommodates a very well lit area: that of a typical living room, fitting the size of the overall construction. No need to be...

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039 - stacked timber

Moving through the forest one experiences a sense of enclosure that results from the embrace of its trees; a comforting quietness that marks the transition of moving between natural and artificial ecologies. The basic elements of the...

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040 - Back-to-the-Lander

A return to nature’s legacy

The aim of this project was to fully utilize the cabins minimal footprint, creating a functional interior intended for two people, and a quaint and comfortable retreat submerged in the wilderness. ...

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041 - Lamour

The project consists of a wood cabin embedded  into the slope. The slope gently bends to create a roof. The facade gently bends to follow the path of the sun and give a panoramic view on the surroundings. An overhang protects the facade from...

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042 - Cabin P.

Cabin P. 

Design Question: 

Can you create a stage that utilizes the vistas of site as a backdrop for the dreamer in the woods? 


Kinked box +Bench height Deck+ Wall of Windows = Cabin...

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043 - Adaptable Nature’s Retreat

The design of the nature retreat is a direct response to nature and its environment.


Pod shaped geometry is one of the basic shapes found in nature.  It is structurally stable and blends well in nature. It eliminates...

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044 - Bio-Box

BIO-BOX, but a refuge, it is a point of connection between nature and the human being of the century, respectful and aware of the environment where it coexists with nature, a hanging drawer that adapts to the environment mimicking like a second...

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045 - A Cabin in the Woods

A sleeping cabin can be a place to rest, reflect and enjoy one’s time surrounded by nature. In designing this cabin, it was important to maintain a balance of inside and outside to make the space cozy yet open. Trying to understand the...

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046 - The Bureau of Architecture and Design

Calling upon the vernacular of both the indigenous wig-wams along with Acadian timber framing, the proposal presents a hybrid of the two. Using thinnings, a byproduct from saw mills of lumber that is too small to be used as sheet material the...

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047 - Hearth

Distilling the components of the classic backwoods cabin down to a wood stove and a stack of firewood, Hearth hybridizes conventionally disjunct elements into a seamless occupiable space -- a domestic chimney. Contrasting the vertical timbers of...

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048 - More Forest

Eager to express our great support for the profile of your organisation, we are hereby thrilled to present our architectural answer to your question. 

The core of our concept focuses on the relation which human beings attempt to...

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049 - Cheetah Print Cabin

Cheetah Cabin combines design (form), craft (fabrication) while utilizing the fundamentals of basic wood construction.  The aim of the project is to investigate interiority + materiality as a means of interrogating lightness, visibility, and...

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050 - Lark House

Mirafra (Lark) House

“The lark in mythology and literature stands for daybreak, as in Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale", "the bisy larke, mesager of day", and Shakespeare's Sonnet 29, "the lark at break of day...

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051 - Human Nest

Human being had been coexisted with other creatures in this earth for a long time. However, past a half century, we have given priority to our own development, and have ignored our cohabitants and the environment in this world. 


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052 - Purple Violet

Like a wildflower in the summertime and a jewel in the snow, Purple Violet introduces the contemporary vernacular by re-imagining the wigwam of the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet people.

Purple Violet's vivid color palette is...

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053 - The Lantern Retreat

Our backwoods cabin of the future blurs the lines between humans and nature with an economical use of materials, and a unique suspended structure that hovers lightly above the forest floor making the most minimal impact possible...

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054 - Bird House Retreat

The Bird House Retreat provides a retreat for two people to study, refresh, and be a part of nature, while accommodating birds’ homes. The birdhouses embedded in the walls provide spaces for birds to make their nests. The Bird House Retreat...

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055 - 4x4x8

The building is efficient and simple, from the beginning of the construction process to its intended use. Set on piloti’s, it hovers above ground, ensuring minimal intervention to the forest bed while eliminating the...

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056 - Tinderbox Cabin

Tinderbox Cabin is a versatile and efficiently designed lodging and studio space. The materials used in the design of this cabin have been chosen in order to promote sustainability and simple modern design.

The exterior wall cladding...

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057 - Habitation & Habitat

A Strategy for Mediating Between Habitation and Habitat

The proposal endeavors to develop strategies that can be integrated in a sensitive fashion to the specific qualities of the site.

The presentation of strategies is a unique...

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