These Art and Yoga Cabins Mimic California’s Majestic Forests

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By Lucy Wang
Nestled on a steep slope near the iconic Muir Woods in California, a pair of outbuildings offer a sublime connection to Mother Nature.

With planted roofs and vertical timber siding, the Mill Valley Cabins have been crafted to look and feel like a natural extension of the surrounding forest canopy. Designed by Feldman Architecture  the two structures—one serving as an artist studio and the other as a place to practice yoga—sit lightly on the land and take cues from the existing topography.

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Spruce and pine cladding echo the verticality of the tree trunks surrounding the cabins. 

Spruce and pine cladding echo the verticality of the tree trunks surrounding the cabins. 

The steep slope necessitated careful attention to waterproofing and drainage.

The steep slope necessitated careful attention to waterproofing and drainage.

The 500-square-foot artist studio is located higher on the slope, and overlooks the green roof of the 415-square-foot yoga studio below.  

Both structures step out to small south-facing terraces. 

Both structures step out to small south-facing terraces. 

Each cabin uniquely suits the needs of the owners—one an artist and the other an avid gardener and yoga enthusiast. The two clients also share an existing home on site.

Large columns and shear walls offer the structural support needed to mitigate minor earthquakes. 

Large columns and shear walls offer the structural support needed to mitigate minor earthquakes. 

"Dividing their programmatic needs into separate cabins allowed the two small structures to be placed lightly between existing trees with minimal re-grading of the site, and gave each a different view of the woods," says Feldman Architecture.

The accessible green roof on the yoga studio provides additional landscape for gardening. 

The accessible green roof on the yoga studio provides additional landscape for gardening. 

Both structures have been topped with curved roofs and punctuated with large windows that bring in ample natural light and views. The simple and modern interiors feature a restrained palette of whitewashed walls and timber floors in order to not detract from the surrounding landscape. 

The artist studio overlooks the green roof on the yoga studio.

The artist studio overlooks the green roof on the yoga studio.

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The yoga studio can also be converted into guesthouse.

The yoga studio can also be converted into guesthouse.

River-rock ballast was installed around the perimeter of the green roof.

River-rock ballast was installed around the perimeter of the green roof.

A winding path connects the two south-facing structures. 

A winding path connects the two south-facing structures. 

The green-roofed studio was reinforced to support the weight of wet soils.

The green-roofed studio was reinforced to support the weight of wet soils.

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Feldman Architecture 

General Contractor: JP Builders

Structural Engineer: Yu Strandberg Engineering

Landscape Design: Jori Hook

Geotechnical Engineer: Miller Pacific Engineering Group

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