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Brilliant Prefab Cabin's Movable Nested Shells Open Up to Nature

Oct 26, 2023Oct 26, 2023

This flexible flat pack structure has a number of possible layouts.

Jorrit ‘t Hoen & Tonu Tunnel

We've seen many great examples of multipurpose, space-maximizing "transformer" furniture over the years, as well as some jaw-dropping transformer apartments too. Rarer still are tiny houses and cabins of the transforming type, though we've seen some here and there with walls that morph or roofs that retract.

Dutch physicist-turned-designer Caspar Schols might likely take the cake, however, with this brilliant flat-pack cabin that has entire sections of a transparent interior shell that slide in and out, depending on the weather.

Dubbed Cabin ANNA, this latest version is based on the Garden House prototype that Schols originally built for his mother back in 2016. This new iteration is built according to some of the same design principles: an inner skeletal structure made of glass that can be separated from the outer wooden walls and the metal roof, thanks to a clever system of metal rails that are integrated into the deck, thus allowing the occupant to create various layouts. As Schols explains on Archello, the cabin is almost like a layered garment of sorts:

This flexibility is made possible by a system of two pairs of rails that run parallel to each other.

Shown here is the ANNA Meet model, which has two long glass shells supported by a wooden truss frame, which is embedded within an exterior shell is made with larch wood.

Here is ANNA when both wood and glass shells are completely interposed and connected at the center, leaving both ends of the wooden deck open.

Here is ANNA when both of the glass shells are pushed out to the edges of the deck, creating two sunrooms on either side.

Conversely, when the glass shells are placed in the middle, and the wooden shells out to the sides, we have a large, centralized sunroom that is perfect for dinner parties or for meetings, all surrounded by nature.

Finally, we have yet another possible configuration when both layers are wheeled out to fully expose the center to the elements.

Here's another view of the glass shells, which have door-like panels constructed out of metal, and which split in half when pushed apart.

Seen here is the interior of ANNA Stay model, which is made with sustainably sourced larch wood and birch plywood. It features a simple layout: besides the space for a bedroom and a kitchen on the ground floor, there is also a mezzanine overhead that is large enough to fit a king-sized bed.

The living area is heated with a woodstove, though electrical heating can also be installed.

There is a bathroom and shower in the stationary part of the structure as well.

These newer versions of ANNA features a number of improvements over the original Garden House that Schols designed for his mother, also named Anna. He explains:

To lighten its impact on its immediate environment, the cabin rests on ground screws that allow it to be easily disassembled in three days and moved in the future. In addition to the ANNA Meet and ANNA Stay models, there is the ANNA Me, which can be further personalized to individual clients' needs. Costing around $98,600, not including transportation and assembly costs, the cabin's components can be easily transported and assembled with a small crane and five people in around five days.

To find out more, visit Cabin ANNA.