In 2020, many people stuck in tiny apartments within big, shut-down cities fantasized about having their very own “quarantine cabin.” Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a place to distance yourself from crowds, commune with nature and take a break from all the stress of the pandemic? Even in 2021, as the Covid-19 crisis appears to be receding, the concept is tantalizing, so this design called “The Voxel Quarantine Cabin” is as relevant as ever.
Created by a team of students and researchers from Barcelona’s Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, the cabin was designed with isolation in mind and built using wood harvested from the immediate surroundings on the building site. Taking its name from the abbreviation for the phrase “volumetric pixel,” the cabin was built in just five months as part of the students’ master degree program.
“The project researches the ecological transformation of wood as a structural, thermal, and constructive material from sustainable forest management because of its capacity to store CO2 in buildings,” the designers say.
The students milled, dried, processed and pressed Aleppo Pine into cross-laminated timber sheets called lamellas on site at the Valldaura campus. They chose 40 pine trees to harvest according to a sustainable forest management plan that encourages the growth of small trees to improve biodiversity.
“In a feat of obsessive commitment to locality and understanding the material flows of architecture, every lamella of every panel was tracked and traced, ensuring that every single wooden element of the house can be accurately traced back to the point where the tree it came from once stood,” the project team said.
The exterior wood was charred using the Shou Sugi Ban process to protect it from rain and insects and formed into slatted rain screen panels. Collected rain is routed into tanks for the outdoor shower and kitchenette. Three solar panels provide power for a laptop and lighting, and a self-contained biogas system treats waste from the toilet to generate fuel for cooking and heating.
Basically, it’s the perfect place to get away from it all, whether you’re in the midst of a global health crisis or just need to eliminate all distractions long enough to complete a project.
Learn more about Shou Sugi Ban and how wood buildings can help fight climate change by storing CO2: