116 - Charred Cabin

Greg Broerman & Obinna Elechi (Bureau of Architecture and Design)

Brooklyn, New York, USA



Located in the Acadian forest, the proposal provides an overnight cabin that can accommodate up to three people. The proposal blurs both the interior and exterior of the building, while also using materials and building techniques that aim at minimizing green house gases. The Charred Cabin meets these design goals while paying homage to the Acadian Vernacular with both traditional and modern building techniques.

The formal vernacular of the Charred Cabin is updated by providing for multiple viewing points that create a constant visual connection with nature. The wall to wall entry sliding doors allow for expansive views out of the cabin. Sitting down at the modular folding tables, the visitor is provided with table height views out of the six foot long awning window. These views are not only limited to the horizontal, a 30” acrylic skylight bubble blurs the boundary between inside and outside when the visitor is viewing through the cavity.

The shou sugi ban siding (charred cedar) gives the façade a deep dark charcoal appearance. This method preserves the wood by sealing the cedar in a char, making it more fire-resistant, while also making it termite and bug resistant. Shou sugi ban has been referred to as “a all natural, non toxic way to preserve wood”.  The finish gives the cabin an ebony appearance.

The house is constructed on an 8ft x 20ft base to take advantage of stock building supplies and transportation. Charred Cabin is constructed off site on a platform. From this platform the walls are framed up consisting of the shou sugi ban rainscreen, marine grade plywood sheathing and gyp board interior. Walls are 11” thick which allow for 8” thick R-30 recycled denim insulation. This high R-value helps to keep the cabin well insulated, minimizing the amount of wood needed for the furnace. Once construction is completed, a mule (forklift) and wheels drive Charred Cabin to its final destination.

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