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Unplugged Cabin, Tarcau, RO

This off-grid project showed us that what is simple in the civilised world is close to unattainable in the wilderness. Conceptually it was supposed to be a simple story but the site, access, material scarcity and lack of resources made it challenging yet equally rewarding.


The project started as an experiment in "Can we do this?". To create a minimalistic habitat into the woods, completely off-grid, using locally sourced materials, using local manufacturers and workforce. Anything that was not crucial or really needed was de-prioritised; at the same time, we listed and employed equivalent techniques (Shou Sugi Ban treatment for the cladding instead of industrial paint, rain collection and so on) to both minimise the ecological footprint as well as for practical reasons.


The remote site pushed back from day one: when arriving to start with people and equipment we noticed that the old narrow bridge collapsed and was unusable. Everything had to be carried through a river ford and hoping that the mountain rain (which would turn the river into a raging torrent) would be on our side. The wild bear paw prints (and presence observed casually) were also a reminder that this location was anything but usual.


The lack of local resources and available workforce threatened for a while the viability and execution of the project; we, however, persisted and managed to push on, stubbornly, using all our arsenal of skills to somehow convince suppliers to bring materials to close proximity, to find farm and construction equipment that could help with the heavier tasks.


The result is a simple yet striking shape, inspired by old cabins and barns peppered through the landscape of the Carpathian Mountains; after all, this is the place we grew in. The suspended body of the cabin gives both protection and delightful, spyglass-like perspective over the Magura Peak, which at 4895 ft (almost 1.5km tall) reminds you that untainted, wild, is still what makes us resonate when we are lucky enough to see it. The lower area is a place for gathering your friends and enjoying the back to basics lifestyle, around the firepit.

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