093 - Analog Cabin

Troy Holloway

Alberta, Canada


Design Intent:

  • Unwired, unplugged. Thoreau’s modern Walden Cabin. Reconnection to the natural world; a deliberate disconnection from The Matrix of the digital world.

  • A reset. Cabin is oriented to follow the sun’s path throughout the day. No artificial lengthening of the work day through electricity; a circadian reset is possible. A solar-powered lamp permits battery-limited bedtime reading and late-night bathroom trips.

  • East windows provide sunlight on the bunk beds which gently awakens the guest, providing light, warmth, and views to the surrounding forest.

  • South windows illuminate the desk, providing focus for reading, writing, and art.

  • West windows allow the setting sun to signal the end of the workday, and beckon the user to watch the transition from day to night and to reflect on the day’s activities. The cabin becomes illuminated from within, as the glow from the wood stove creates a soft, dancing light on the unfinished wood surfaces.



  • A rain-screen building envelope provides a barrier to the elements. Unfinished cedar siding, bright and fragrant, greys and blends into the forest as it ages.

  • Rock wool insulation outside the air-vapour membrane provides superior thermal performance, fire, insect, and mold resistance, and reduces the use of toxic petrochemicals.

  • Standard house-wrap is used for air and vapour protection vs. self-adhered materials which complicate future deconstruction and reuse of wood sheathing.

  • Exposed wood framing inside the cabin lends a rustic, cabin feel; light is softened, chemical based finishes are avoided.

  • Wood is used for all framing and sheathing. Wood sequesters carbon, contains no glues or adhesives, and can be reused, recycled, or used for firewood at the end of its service life. It can also be mulched and added to the soil matrix for future tree growth.

  • Windows are triple glazed, low-e, argon filled units. Superior thermal performance, advanced control of solar heat gain, occupant comfort, and awning-type operable units permit fresh air flow, temperature control, and expansive views. Fibreglass frames are intended for best durability, thermal performance, and least emissions; wood may be less durable but also a viable option. Vinyl, while the least desirable from an environmental perspective, could be considered if budget dictates.

  • Roof is protected from the elements with a self-adhered SBS membrane consisting of a base layer and cap sheet. While petroleum-based, it offers the greatest durability (vs. shingles), and can support the attachment of moss roof panels.

  • All fasteners are galvanized, for greatest durability. Cedar-safe polymer-coated or stainless steel screws are recommended for exterior cedar attachment.



  • Extensive use of local wood sequesters carbon, requires minimal processing and less transport than other materials.

  • Chemical-based finishes are not used. Wood is permitted to breathe naturally, and use of exterior rock wool insulation allows drying of the envelope, avoiding mold/mildew issues.

  • Operable windows allow natural ventilation and thermal control.

  • Moss panels on the roof require minimal soil and maintenance and are drought tolerant. Photosynthesis allows the intake of CO2 and production of oxygen as a means of offsetting the carbon embodied in the building.

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