Nozomi Nakabayashi creates writer's hut on stilts in the Dorset woods

Sheltered beneath an oversized roof, this tiny timber cabin by AA graduate Nozomi Nakabayashi stands on stilts among the oak trees of a wood in Dorset, England (+ slideshow).

Hut on stilts by Nozomi Nakabayashi

Nakabayashi was commissioned to create Hut on Stilts for a writer after graduating from the Architectural Association's Design and Make programme last summer.

The small treehouse-like structure is elevated above a patch of woodland. It was designed and constructed by Nakabayashi, with the help of a small team.

Hut on Stilts by Nozomi Nakabayashi

The eight-square-metre cabin is split into two levels and is kitted out with a wood-burning stove, writing desk and a bed hidden beneath the floorboards.

Hut on Stilts by Nozomi Nakabayashi

"Hidden amongst a small oak woodland, Hut on Stilts stands high above ground as a small magical get away space to spend the night, to ponder and to inspire ideas for the client, who is a writer," said Nakabayashi.

Hut on Stilts by Nozomi Nakabayashi

An elevated observation deck forms the base of the building, which is raised approximately four metres above the forest floor on reclaimed telegraph poles.

The stilts lift it up into the tree canopy to give the writer views of a nearby lake and passing wildlife.

Hut on Stilts by Nozomi Nakabayashi

"The brief was to build a small overnight-stay structure for a writer in a small woodland," Nakabayashi told Dezeen.

"The site of the Hut on Stilts is in a small patch of woodland looking over a lake in distance, and the client wanted an elevated space with a view, to rest and ponder upon his ideas."

Hut on Stilts by Nozomi Nakabayashi

"The site is located right behind a lake and the client wanted an elevated structure to enjoy the view to the lake, the deer passing by and the hills," she added.

"We also wanted to create a space which felt comfortable, but different from the everyday experience of being on the ground."

Hut on Stilts by Nozomi Nakabayashi

Inside, a wood-burning stove sits in an alcove and a polycarbonate writing desk is wedged between the eaves and walls to maximise the 2.5 by 2.5-metre plan.

Hut on Stilts by Nozomi Nakabayashi

A section of the plywood flooring in front of the stove can be peeled back to reveal a cavity containing a bed.

Hut on Stilts by Nozomi Nakabayashi

The cabin is clad and insulated with a combination of locally sourced red cedar and cork panelling, while the structure is made from Douglas fir and features a wide window made from recycled glass.


Related content: see more cabins


Nakabayashi prefabricated the structure offsite and completed the cladding and interior on location with the aid of battery-powered tools.

Hut on Stilts by Nozomi Nakabayashi

She developed these skills while working on the Big Shed project – a faceted timber workshop set on the AA's campus in nearby Hooke Park.

Hut on Stilts by Nozomi Nakabayashi
The structure was prefabricated offsite while the cladding and interior were completed on location

"With the AA's Big Shed project, the experience of living on site and creating the project gave me a specific sense of a complete process of conceiving a building," she said. "This hinted at a new way of practicing architecture and gave me a yearning to want to build the Hut on Stilts."

Hut on Stilts by Nozomi Nakabayashi
Nakabayashi built Hut on Stilts with the help of a small team

"I consciously took the extreme role of becoming the builder of the project and this was to be able to experience the project physically from its idea to its completion," she added.

"Beyond the practicality of being able to control the design by being the maker, I became the inhabitant of the space – this was really important in enabling me to feel and experience my own design as a process."

Photography is by Henrietta Williams.


Project credits:

Lead designer: Nozomi Nakabayashi
Design and building team: Nozomi Nakabayashi, Mark Torrens, Marco Bencivenga, Manvir Hansra, Federico Forestiero, Elizabeth Cunningham

Hut on Stilts by Nozomi Nakabayashi
Construction diagram – click for larger image
Hut on Stilts by Nozomi Nakabayashi
Section – click for larger image