This Prefab Artist Cabin in New Zealand Is an Off-Grid Retreat

published Jun 24, 2019
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The personal creative process for many artists entails finding the perfect physical space that can accommodate the acts of losing and finding themselves while digging deep for sources of inspiration. Depending on the individual, creating art at home can certainly produce spectacular results.

But it’s not always ideal, considering some artists share space with other humans and animals that may unknowingly (or intentionally) interfere with the process, which makes a peaceful, remote spot like this prefab cabin in New Zealand all the more dreamy.

Taihape, New Zealand is home to the farm-inspired AB Cabin, designed by New Zealand firm Copeland Associates. The former market garden site offers views of the surrounding lush landscape, which includes the Ruahine mountain range. The space initially served as a camping spot, which served as the muse of sorts behind the designers’ the idea for an off-the-grid, nature retreat for artists.

The AB Cabin was largely constructed using prefabricated cross-laminated timber panels that are supported by a grid of timber piles, elevating the structure above ground. The panels also make up the flooring, the walls and the roof as well as the finished, exposed interior. The cabin features aluminum windows to keep the interior warm; its exterior is clad in corrugate metal sheeting, an intentional design element borrowed from local farm buildings. The designers were also purposeful in keeping the building process sustainable, taking care to reduce waste and environmental impact by constructing doors and built-in furniture from leftover panels and positioning the structure off the ground.

Beneath the structure’s mono-pitched roof lies a small studio space, complete with a staircase-accessible mezzanine sleeping platform that hovers just above a tiny kitchen with basic amenities. Despite the minimal square footage, the cabin also has a designated sleeping area for a guest, complete with a desk and a skylight.

An open-air wooden deck and a huge front window work with the light interior to give the cabin an open, breezy feel. Meanwhile, a wood-burning stove sufficiently warms the inside and keeps the coziness at a maximum during the colder months.