The Woodcutter’s Refuge was designed for private clients on an agricultural estate in South Devon, within a mile of the SW coastal path.

The brief was simple; The need for ‘shelter’ within a newly planted area of woodland for the local woodcutter to store tools and take refuge in times of poor weather. The site is the corner of a newly planted, mixed native woodland. It is an isolated and exposed location, so the building needed to be resilient to the Devon weather whilst cosy enough to spend time waiting for the elements to change. Alongside this was an aspiration for it’s design to be informed by, and sensitive to its context.

Dylan Thomas’ writing shed in Laugharne provided a strong precedent for the sense of space that the clients were interested in creating – one full of character, yet informal in its construction and materiality.

This example immediately informed the form of the building. It’s double pitched roof provided the quintessential form of a hillside cabin. Sited in a steep landscape, its orientation was dictated by a mixture of context and pragmatism – picking up views of the distant river Dart, yet remaining aware of the difficulties of hillside construction. The building picks a path between being embedded in the landscape, and taking a step off the hillside, providing a collection of different spaces and views.

The building’s simple arrangement was designed around it’s sporadic usage and isolated location. Large shutters allow the building to be closed down or opened up when required, offering a sense of security for the storage of tools, but providing an inspiring place for the users to base themselves when working in the woods. A partially indoor space is provided for storage and wet weather gear – an ancillary area to the warmer interior of the cabin.

The material palette was driven by its context. A UK sourced, seasoned oak structure and paneled infill is fully expressed internally - a structural honesty driven by the client’s brief. Off-site prefabrication was required due to the difficulties of building in the steep landscape.

Externally, vertical green oak, rainscreen cladding was chosen. Movement in the timber was encouraged, as the cladding was seen as part of the woodland, blending the building into the hillside over time.

Life Space Cabins uploaded The Woodcutter's Refuge through Add A Home.
Add your own project for the chance to be featured in Editor’s Picks.
Modern home with Exterior, Cabin Building Type, Wood Siding Material, Shed RoofLine, and Metal Roof Material. Front with vertical green oak, rainscreen cladding Photo  of The Woodcutter's Refuge

Front with vertical green oak, rainscreen cladding

Modern home with Shed & Studio and Living Space Room Type. Cabin with Corten roof and vertical green oak, rainscreen cladding Photo 2 of The Woodcutter's Refuge

Cabin with Corten roof and vertical green oak, rainscreen cladding

Modern home with Exterior, Metal Roof Material, Shed RoofLine, Cabin Building Type, and Wood Siding Material. Vertical green oak, rainscreen cladding, Corten roof, and sliding shutters Photo 3 of The Woodcutter's Refuge

Vertical green oak, rainscreen cladding, Corten roof, and sliding shutters

Modern home with Exterior, Wood Siding Material, Metal Roof Material, Cabin Building Type, and A-Frame RoofLine. Corten corrugated steel sheets for the roof and vertical green oak, rainscreen cladding Photo 4 of The Woodcutter's Refuge

Corten corrugated steel sheets for the roof and vertical green oak, rainscreen cladding

Modern home with Living Room, Wood Burning Fireplace, Dark Hardwood Floor, Bench, Sectional, Table Lighting, and Chair. Interior of the luxury off grid cabin with UK sourced, seasoned oak structure and paneled infill  Photo 5 of The Woodcutter's Refuge

Interior of the luxury off grid cabin with UK sourced, seasoned oak structure and paneled infill

Modern home with Windows, Sliding Window Type, and Metal. Drop down double glazed Crittall window Photo 6 of The Woodcutter's Refuge

Drop down double glazed Crittall window

Modern home with Shed & Studio and Living Space Room Type. Interior with UK sourced, seasoned oak structure and paneled infill  Photo 7 of The Woodcutter's Refuge

Interior with UK sourced, seasoned oak structure and paneled infill

Architect
  • Alex Thomas and Jamie Wilson
Photographer
  • Dan Dayment Photography

Overview

Year
  • 2018
  • Press