Bureau de Change was commissioned to design a contemporary cabin deep in the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina.
The brief was simple and focused. It should have three bedrooms and bathrooms, space for the client’s ATV (quadbike) and enable visitors to savour views across the mountainside.
The house, which nestles into the sloping site, takes its design inspiration from the traditional dogtrot house (a single storey dwelling made of two log cabins with pitched roofs, connected by an open-ended hallway or ‘dogtrot’), but adopts a radial design of four interconnected pitched roof structures, each with a fully glazed facade.
The radial start point is set from the rear of the property, spreading outwards at increments of 5 degrees. The dimensions of each room is defined by this - creating a rational for spatial layout and construction. A large open plan living space forms the keystone of the plan. From this radiate sleeping spaces to the East and a large kitchen and storage shed to the West. The storage shed with parking space is separated by a ‘dogtrot’, to take advantage of the mountain breeze.
The rooms are staggered along their axis, making space for corridors and circulation at the rear and animating the facade and creating a generous veranda at the front.
The main aesthetic of the property comes from a series of large timber beams which follow an opposing radial path (set from the front of the property). Able to span lengths of up to 20 metres, the beams fan outwards from the centre of the building forming a dramatic cantilevered roof profile. Where they meet a pitched roof, they hug its angular profile and at junctions with walls, track down to the floor, bedding the building into the mountainside. These wall-mounted beams provide a grid-like structure into which shelving can be formed and window and skylight openings made.