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Stacked Cabin

Johnsen Schmaling Architects

Shared By

A. Hitchcock

Project Name

Stacked Cabin

Project Status



800 sq. feet


Jeremy and Amanda Hollis


  • General Contractor: Rick Hansen Building

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Project Description

From the AIA:

Hugging the edge of a clearing in a remote Wisconsin forest, a modest three-tiered cabin emerges, drawing praise from the jury for its “magical, poetic and absolutely glowing design.” On a tight budget, this rigorously simple structure intentionally leaves a small footprint. The architect took advantage of the sloped site by reconfiguring the typical cabin with outbuildings into a compact modern get-away that’s stacked vertically. The bottom level, carved into a hill, houses a workshop, storage area and a washroom, with a wood-slatted entry and stairs leading to the second tier that features an open living hall centered around a wood-burning stove, a galley kitchen and a pair of sleeping rooms. A slender study, stacked on top, creates an intimate third-tier observatory with treetop views. Other thoughtful design solutions include retractable floor-to-ceiling curtains on either side of the living space that conceal or reveal the kitchen and sleeping rooms. The large lift-slide windows along the sides of the living hall offer extensive views and, in the summer, become screened openings for cross ventilation.
The meticulously detailed exterior and interior use the readily available materials of the region. Cedar, exposed concrete and anodized metal echo the hues of the surrounding forest and rock formations.

Jury Comment: “The vocabulary and approach to this project is absolutely magical and poetic and very other worldly. In no way does this solution fall into the routine cabin in the woods! It is intellectually separate and creates a very fresh way to see nature. Everything about it is luminous – it’s an absolutely glowing design. The detailing is extraordinary. Also, the site positioning is part of the choreography. The three vertical levels – from the solid base to the solid middle with windows to the predominately transparent top floor – make for a terrific set of experiences.”

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