by STIRworldJun 29, 2020
Following the trend of ‘Tiny House Movement’ and embracing the concept of minimalism, Hungary-based architecture and design firm Hello Wood has designed a small cabin called Kabinka that provides a flat-pack solution for a more conscious way of living and building. The design of the house draws references from Marc-Antoine Laugier’s ‘Primitive Hut’, a structure consisting of upright posts, cross beams and pitched roof, upon which, according to Laugier, “all the magnificences of architecture have been imagined”. The compact Kabinka also resembles those designs that are drawn by children from their earliest memories of homes.
Hello Wood’s Kabinka is available in four sizes from 12 to 20 sqm, resonating with the Tiny House Movement, which is now prevalent in Hungary as well to cater to the growing number of people enamoured with holiday homes and required to build unique houses close to nature. The cabin can be used as a great weekend home or a private work space, and is also a perfect option for companies in need of an annex space for the community to come together or as a meeting room. The small cabin design can fit a tea kitchen, a bathroom, a couch and a stove. Prioritising sustainable living and simple and compact lifestyle, the house is low on carbon footprint, and due to its low-energy consumption, the cabin is also greener than a house built of non-renewable materials with conventional technologies. The next step of the product development process is to create an assemble-it-yourself flat pack kit, through use of industrial wall panels in a design setting.
Here, STIR speaks with Péter Pozsár, the head architect at Hello Wood, to get insights into this compact solution that is attractive and functional.
Meghna Mehta (MM): Kabinka has been designed as an ‘affordable’ cabin. Can you tell us about the aspects on which its cost–effectiveness is based?
Péter Pozsár (PP): Kabinka is affordable and cost-effective because our architecture team used available technologies (industrial technology: sandwich panels; cross laminated timber) in a design situation. We have not seen sandwich panels, an industrial technology used in this scale for cabins or tiny homes. Due to the module system (different sized Kabinkas are based on the same modules), it can be developed, upgraded in the system, and is available in different sizes. It is designed for serial manufacturing and optimised for production line.
MM: As a flat-pack construction methodology, what do you believe are the benefits of on-site assembly? Any particular type of wood was chosen for the same?
PP: Our main goal is to create a cabin that is similar to IKEA furniture in terms of assembly. It has the same benefits as an IKEA chair: cost-effective, we ‘don’t ship’, we ‘air’, and building can be made by local people. We chose the type of wood that is broadly available in Europe, but the actual type of wood can be adapted to local possibilities worldwide.
MM: Has the cabin been conceptualised to fit into any context across the world?
PP: Yes. The structure is light and mobile thanks to the ground screws and can be installed anywhere. The width of sandwich panels is optional (from thin to thick), which makes it work in any weather condition across the world.
MM: Do you believe 'tiny houses' represent the future of housing, especially post-pandemic?
PP: Trends have shown before the start of the pandemic that the demand for tiny houses had been rising, but due to coronavirus it has been increasing further.
MM: What makes Kabinka unique in comparison to other modular prefab homes?
PP: Kabinka uses industrial technology from a new point of view. After rethinking the possibilities of the material, our design team was able to integrate it into the project. We aim to ship Kabinka as flat-pack and with this technology we can minimise unnecessary space in the shipping packages. There are plenty of ways to personalise the cabin, thanks to the module system.
MM: How is the environmental footprint of the house kept at a minimum?
PP: By using ground screws for the foundations (instead of concrete), the supply/subcontractor chain is very short, the whole structure has been made of limited types of material, the cross section of the beams is minimised in size and the building structure is mostly wood (can be reused, sustainable).
MM: What were the design drivers apart from minimal environmental impact? Did they evolve over time?
PP: Hello Wood first created the prototypes of Kabinka around three-four years ago and they were used in practice and proved to be the right size. Since we have just started manufacturing Kabinka, slight changes can happen based on our customers' feedback. As our company uses mostly wood, a sustainable material for the produced projects, it was evident to use it once again.
The construction for Kabinka’s base model takes six to eight weeks, and extra features require additional time. On-site assembly is done in one to three days.
Designed and manufactured: Hello Wood
Creative concept: András Huszár, Péter Pozsár, Dávid Ráday, Krisztián Tóth
Head architect: Péter Pozsár
Project architect: Péter Oravecz
Completion date: 2020
Basic (size S) cabin dimensions:
Exterior height: 4.06 m
Floor space: 12 sqm
Floor-to-ceiling height: 3.90 m
Other available sizes: M: 14.9 sqm | L: 17.3sqm | XL: 20sqm + 9.6sqm patio