This Ultra-Versatile Prefab Cabin Can Shed Its Layers of Wood and Glass

This Ultra-Versatile Prefab Cabin Can Shed Its Layers of Wood and Glass

By Anna Squier
Now available for less than $99,000, ANNA is a flat-pack retreat whose inner and outer shells glide along tracks.

Before he had any formal training, physicist–turned–architectural designer Caspar Schols constructed a prefabricated garden shed for his mother, Anna, in 2016. The layered, moving walls of the Garden House could be rearranged to suit different occasions or adapt to weather conditions, and its ingenuity earned Schols not only recognition, but also a scholarship to study at the Architectural Association in London. There, the Dutch designer began to adapt the original design to create the ANNA cabin—a fully inhabitable house of flat-pack construction that can be built and rebuilt anywhere in the world.

At first glance, ANNA appears deceptively simple with its metal gable roof, simple wood construction, and terrace. However, there’s more than meets the eye with this flat-pack cabin.

Both the outer wood shell and the inner glass walls slide back and forth on tracks, allowing a variety of configurations. When the weather is warmer, the shells can glide open to provide more light and ventilation. In cooler temperatures, the cabin walls can be closed to provide shelter and warmth. 

The cabin comes in three different models—ANNA Stay, ANNA Meet, and ANNA Me. Whether for living, meeting, meditation, or recreation, ANNA provides dynamic configurations of timber construction with panoramic views that immerse users in nature.

The inner beam-and-glass structure is separate from the outer wooden walls and metal roof. Both structures can be wheeled right and left to create a variety of different layouts. 

Elegantly simple and magical in its mobility, ANNA’s walls slide open and closed on four rails, allowing it to expand and contract. Inspired by his deep fascination with nature—as well as the laws of physics—Schols has created an abode that can peel completely apart to let the surroundings in.

The structure includes a total of four rails: two on each side running parallel to each other. The glass enclosure follows the inner rail, while the wood enclosure follows the outer rail, allowing them to smoothly roll past each other along different paths.

Metal "doors" with circular openings mark where to push the walls along their tracks. The structure relies on its side walls’ wood trusses for structural integrity, as seen in railway stations.

"The name ANNA is a palindrome that matches the palindrome character of the cabin," explains Schols. "You could see the As as the glass sliding shells and the Ns as the wooden sliding shells." 

ANNA derives its name from not only its structural form, but from Schols’s mother, Anna, as well. The designer wants to honor Mother Nature as well; the cabin pairs the sensory experiences of being outside with the built form.

Built from sustainably grown materials, the interior is a pairing of Douglas fir and birch ply, while the exterior is finished in inland larch fir. All materials can be delivered in one piece or flat-packed, by land or sea. With the help of a mini electric crane, the elements can be put together in just five working days with three people. With easy-to-remove screw foundations, this impact-free structure leaves nothing behind in nature when disassembled.

The exposed, beautifully crafted wood trusses carry through the interior living spaces, supporting the wood and glass shells. 

ANNA Stay is designed for living and is suitable for up to four adults. Equipped with all the necessities of a home, ANNA Stay ensures comfort while still providing a true outdoor experience. 

Glass walls provide panoramic views of the surroundings while protecting occupants from rain and wind. 

The fixed portion houses the utilitarian components: a kitchen, shower, toilet, and storage space. 

The space is heated by a wood stove, with an option to install electric heating. 

When the weather allows, the glass walls can be wheeled aside, leaving the living space open to the outdoors. 

Above the kitchen is a mezzanine which is large enough for a second king-size bed. The wood-wrapped interior is warm and cozy, providing a sheltered space to hide away from the outside world. The kitchen space is minimal, but functional, with a wall-mounted sink, cooktop, counter and storage space. 

With ANNA Stay, you can literally sleep under the stars. 

Designed for meetings and gatherings, ANNA Meet can be adapted for a family get-together, yoga class, or office space.

ANNA Meet is shown here in its most condensed form. Both the wood and glass shells meet at the center, leaving open-air platforms at either end of the plan. 

With the inners shells pushed outward, they become glass-walled sunrooms. 

Here, the meeting space is protected from the elements but remains visually connected to the landscape. 

Finally, with both the wood and glass shells slid to the outer ends of the plan, ANNA Meet provides an open-air platform. 

ANNA Meet includes Wi-Fi, electrical power sockets, whiteboard sheet holders, a modular table configuration, and even a fully furnished drinks corner. 

The modular table hosts up to 10 individuals, and its wood tone complements the rest of the cabin.

ANNA Me is a fully customized version that can be tailored to an individual’s unique desires. Schols sees ANNA as a "Rubik’s Cube to keep working on forever. And the final outcome is unknown."

Whether used as a dwelling, family retreat, meeting space, office, or studio, ANNA keeps its inhabits in tune with the outdoors.

Starting at €83,000, or roughly $98,600 not including transportation, ANNA is currently for sale and ready for production in both on- and off-grid versions. You can schedule a free virtual or in-person viewing at its current location on a wildlife reserve. 

Related Reading:

A Prefab Cabin Made From 100% Locally Sourced Wood Pops Up in France

This New A-Frame Cabin Kit Can Be Built in a Weekend for $21K

This $12K Flat-Pack Cabin Makes the Perfect Weekend Retreat or Backyard Office

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Caspar Schols / @casparschols

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