Moonlight Cabin: A Small Retreat That’s Big On Space


b_730_6c919e6d-90bc-46a5-aa36-b5a24279ef78Located on a windswept coast line in Victoria, Australia, Moonlight Cabin is a place to retreat from and engage with the landscape’s ephemeral conditions. It is a small footprint shelter (60m2) that explores the boundaries of how small is too small, challenging conventional notions of what is actually necessary in our lives. It is designed to be passively environmentally responsive, ultimately reducing energy use and running costs whilst maximizing occupant amenity.

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The plan is conceived as one volume with kitchen, bathroom and utilities inserted within a central island pod which effectively unlocks the corridor to become an important habitable space. The cabin is a small building with simple furnishings and accommodation: double bed, bunks, bathroom, lounge and kitchen. These functional spaces have been cleverly integrated into a central ‘in-built’ island pod and surrounded by an outer corridor which has become important habitable space. Planning is as efficient as possible and no space has been wasted.

The built form is fully screened in a spotted-gum rainscreen that acts like a ‘gore-tex jacket’ to protect the cabin from the elements while the timber is free to move naturally in the changing climatic conditions. Operable shutters enable cross ventilation and adaptability, open or closed, partially shut down or secured when the occupants leave and reopened when they return. Moonlight Cabin is grid connected and rainwater is sustainably harvested.

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Spotted-gum cladding, concrete floors, naturally oiled timber and a limited colour palette were chosen with the desire to create a generous home that would also provide maximum living comfort. The internal timber linings (floor, ceiling, walls) are of Victorian Ash which has been ‘limed’. The joinery and cabinetry is made of Victorian Ash veneer which has been stained black.

Timber cladding was selected because of its durable qualities to combat the harsh coastal climatic conditions, and to create a warm aesthetic for the building that would enable it to sit comfortably within its surrounding natural environment.

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