Massimo Gnocchi and Paolo Danesi design prefab ‘Mountain Refuge’ for remote places

The Italian duo has designed a tiny modular home in plywood which is inspired by traditional archetypes and allows the freedom of configuration and expansion.

by STIRworld Published on : Aug 06, 2020

Introduced as a contemporary interpretation of traditional mountain shelters of the Alps, Italian architects Massimo Gnocchi and Paolo Danesi have designed a cosy dwelling called ‘Mountain Refuge’. Named after the duo’s tiny house start-up company, the prefabricated cabin with its rustic wooden interiors and striking black finishes is capable of being delivered anywhere in the world. Prioritising self-reliance and connection with nature, the Mountain Refuge offers a temporary escape to a remote location, promoting an alternate way of living.

01 min watch Mountain Refuge, a tiny cabin concept, by Massimo Gnocchi and Paolo Danesi | Mountain Refuge by Massimo Gnocchi and Paolo Danesi| STIRworld
Mountain Refuge, a tiny cabin concept, by Massimo Gnocchi and Paolo Danesi Video Credit: Courtesy of Massimo Gnocchi and Paolo Danesi

The retreat conceived as a wooden structure has been realised as two separate prefabricated modules capable of expansion. Each of these standard wooden modules is designed to have their own self-contained structures with an overall dimension of 7.4 x 3.75 meters. Functioning as independent structures, the two plywood modules collectively cover a floor area of 25 sqm. The cabin allows for freedom of configuration, expandable with additional 12.5 sqm modules, which can be added at the owner’s discretion. This modular construction enables programmatic flexibility and preferential spatial arrangements.

The plywood interior finishes and tall windows framing views | Mountain Refuge by Massimo Gnocchi and Paolo Danesi| STIRworld
The plywood interior finishes and tall windows framing views Image Credit: Courtesy of Massimo Gnocchi and Paolo Danesi

All finishes have been made using exposed plywood that brightens up the interior spaces. The customisable modules with add on floor plans permit multiple interior layout options, with a centrally positioned hanging fireplace. The exteriors of the cabin are clad in black pine tar for waterproofing purposes. Additionally, the black elevation exudes warmth and takes on a classic aesthetic reminiscent of Scandinavia.

Mountain Refuge as seen from a distance |Mountain Refuge by Massimo Gnocchi and Paolo Danesi| STIRworld
Mountain Refuge as seen from a distance Image Credit: Courtesy of Massimo Gnocchi and Paolo Danesi

Using an airlifted helicopter delivery system, the tiny cabin opens up multiple possibilities for remote locations. Post determining the location, the prefabricated elements are placed along the landscape as fully assembled units. While the Mountain Refuge was designed such that no poured concrete foundations are necessitated for load transfer, the architects do recommend evaluating the distinct site location to ascertain the need for thin concrete slabs.

Interior view of the kitchen space showing the exposed plywood walls | Mountain Refuge by Massimo Gnocchi and Paolo Danesi| STIRworld
Interior view of the kitchen space showing the exposed plywood walls Image Credit: Courtesy of Massimo Gnocchi and Paolo Danesi

Aimed at fostering a connect between the inhabitant and the site location, the cabin is consistent with floor to ceiling windows harnessing daylight and framing vistas. The front glazing recommended as a single glass panel is large enough to bathe the interiors with natural light while affording the occupants expansive views of the natural landscape.

Mountain Refuge with its pitched roof and floor to ceiling glazing |Mountain Refuge by Massimo Gnocchi and Paolo Danesi| STIRworld
Mountain Refuge with its pitched roof and floor to ceiling glazing Image Credit: Courtesy of Massimo Gnocchi and Paolo Danesi

The Mountain Refuge is designed to encourage off-grid living that further facilitates balance and communication with nature. The roofs are angled at 50 degrees, planned to host a solar powered system with batteries placed beneath the cabin's floor. Working towards self-sufficiency, a rainwater harvesting tank has been installed under the deck of the cabin, which together with the photovoltaic panels provide electricity and hot water and reinforce the sustainable building philosophy. Additional heating, electricity, insulation and on-site connections can be put in place in accordance to the client’s needs.

The Mountain Refuge bathroom |Mountain Refuge by Massimo Gnocchi and Paolo Danesi| STIRworld
The Mountain Refuge bathroom Image Credit: Courtesy of Massimo Gnocchi and Paolo Danesi

According to Massimo Gnocchi and Paolo Danesi, each of the furnished modules will fall within the price range of USD 40,000 to 50,000, depending on the size of the floor plan and the location of delivery.

(Text by Saamia Makharia, an intern at stirworld.com)

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