The judges applauded Ark Cabin for its “modular idea about how to build.” This 646-square-foot vacation home in the Wuhan woods consists primarily of glulam and plywood modules that were built in a factory and assembled on-site. “We call it digital wood, like LEGOs only much bigger,” says architect Mu Wei.
The first thing you notice is the skewed hipped roof, made of hand-charred wood and metal panels. Inside, its steep pitch and deep eaves create a cozy loft containing two bedrooms. At ground level are two simple rooms—a kitchen/eating area and a living room and bathroom. A long deck bisects those two main spaces and extends into the woods, blurring the boundary between home and terrain.
“We wanted to create a spatial experience that could be fully integrated into nature, with a huge terrace extending into the forest under the eaves, and a separate room with a fireplace, so the family can still get a relatively independent space from each other during the vacation,” the architects wrote in their description.
One of about 30 small vacation homes Wiki World plans to build in this enclave, Ark Cabin has concealed cooling and lighting systems to accentuate its pure geometries. “With the form and massing, it’s like a tent in the woods,” a judge said.
Residential Special Constraints
Architects: Mu Wei, Wu Baorong, Feng Zhaoxian, Zhang Ying-chun, Li Jiqi, Wiki World, Wuhan, China
Builder: Wiki World, Wuhan, China
Project size: 646 square feet
Site size: 0.5 acre
Construction cost: $90 per square foot
Photography: Wiki World