Latvian Forest Cabin
A Cabin for Silent Meditation
Client: Private Client
Location: Riga, Latvia
Size: 20 sqm
Status: Complete, 2018
The Forest Cabin is a series of off-the-grid meditation cabins for eco-tourism, located on the grounds of the Ozoloni Tea Farm in rural Latvia.
The brief required an eco-friendly, cost-effective design solution that could be easily constructed and be sited within a series of forest locations across the farm. As a silent meditation cabin, the design needed to provide a calm space for mediation immersed within the sounds of nature. The cabin, which accommodates a single person for 4-5 days, is designed to encourage mindfulness throughout the day, in every ritual of their daily routine. The form, detailing and materiality throughout the space has been thoughtfully considered to encourage a heightened sense of awareness.
The architecture itself is quiet; a pine timber structure on posts that allows it to tuck into the landscape wherever it is placed, leaving minimal impact on the grounds and the natural habitats. A raised timber roof allows daylight to enter from all sides, creating an interior experience that mirrors the natural rhythms of the day. Externally, the cabin is clad in thatched bricks, providing thermal insulation and playing homage to the thatched roofs of Latvian architecture.
Designed from the inside-out; the architectural form was guided by the path of movement that would take place through the course of the day. Arriving at the cabin, a timber-lined portal with steps leads you up to a landing with a seat, where boots can be removed and tucked away for storage under the seat. A timber sliding door with a recessed handle opens to reveal a warm timber cabin, with spruce pine boards lining the interior of the cabin, and exposed timber framing expressing the delicate structure that holds the space together.
Stepping into the cabin, you are immediately met with a single dowel hook and gestured to remove your coat. As you step forward and turn the corner, the core living area of the cabin is revealed. Contained within the joinery of this space are a small table setting, a single bed with bag and clothes store, and a small food preparation area, with a pull-out cooler box and bin contained below the benchtop. Each item to be housed in the space has its own spot, integrated within the joinery, as seen in the recesses for single cutlery items and dowel plate holders. This acts as a gentle reminder for deliberate action and presence throughout the day.
As you continue through the space, a small hand-wash basin is provided with an integrated unfolding mirror and towel storage. Opposite, a small wood-burner and bench seat with a window looking out over the grounds provides a quiet spot for contemplation and meditation. As you turn the corner, another sliding door opens to a dedicated outdoor meditation platform, shielded from the elements by a roof and secondary wall. Here, you are able to sit and meditate with an outlook over the forest, with dowel support provided below the deck as an additional footrest.
Throughout the cabin, the joinery provides opportunities to sit and meditate in various seated positions. The timber is expressed through solid elements and dowel details, encouraging presence through a heightened sense of tactility and ergonomic awareness.
Responsible Design Principles: Passive Design, Reduce Waste, Minimalism, Resource Efficiency, Sustainable Materials, Local Resources, Low-Toxicity
"Externally, the cabin is clad in thatched bricks, providing thermal insulation and playing homage to the Latvian thatched roofs."