International Architecture Competition

Silent
Meditation
Forest Cabins

Results

Foreword

Competition organisers

Silent 
Meditation 
Forest Cabins

The Silent Meditation Forest Cabins competition is an open international contest for a series of off-the-grid meditation cabins in rural Latvia. It is organised in collaboration with Ozolini, a Latvian tea company which draws on generations of knowledge and experience to create unique mixtures of herbal teas, and which opens its farm to eco-tourists as a meditative retreat.

The competition seeks eco-friendly and cost-effective proposals for an easily- constructible and -replicable 15m² hut that could be sited in a series of forested locations across the Ozolini farm. The cabins are intended to provide users which a calm space to meditate while surrounded by the sounds of nature.

Latvia is over 50 percent forested and home to a diverse ecosystem, which includes rare black storks, otters, beavers, lynx, wolves, deer, wild boar, elk, and red fox. Protected wildlife zones account for approximately a fifth of the country. The Ozolini estate is dense in natural resources, with as many as 50 species of herbal plant life per square metre. It is located 100 km from Riga, Latvia, immersed in the forest and alongside Lake Bezdibenė. Ozolini, in addition to functioning as a tea farm, hosts summer camps to explore the secrets of medicinal herbs, as well as self-awareness workshops.

Designers were asked to propose a series of cabins that have the capacity to: provide comfortable living accommodation to a single person for 4-5 days; be operational in all seasons; contain sufficient clear floor area for meditation; include small food and water storage; be mosquito proof; incorporate alternative lighting options; and include a heating system for winter months.

The winning proposals will be considered for construction, and designs for the Silent Meditation Forest Cabins were above all asked to focus on eco-friendly and cost-effective building techniques, to be models for one of Europe’s greenest countries.

Designs were judged for their integration within the forest and sensitivity to the environment. A range of ideas were submitted for cabins that have the capacity to interact with the forest in a variety of ways. The jury asked: Has the design introduced some innovative architectural idea? How has the designer made use of this particular site? Does the proposal offer a peaceful space to observe the forest, and to be both completely alone and protected from the elements?

This competition is part of a series organised by Bee Breeders focused on designs for compact living spaces integrated within nature. Recently, the website ran competitions seeking proposals for Iceland Northern Lights Rooms, European Velo Stops, and Amber Road Trekking Cabins. Bee Breeders would like to thank all entrants for their participation in the Silent Meditation Forest Cabins competition.

1ST PRIZE WINNER

Project Name

Solo Cabin

Country

Austria

Project authors

David Florez
Stefani Zlateva

jury commentary

‘Solo Cabin’ is an arrangement of 3 stacked spaces sized 2x2 meters and placed at various angles, a design decision which highlights the various layers of nature, allowing visitors to experience it from the forest floor to the branches of the tree canopy. The submission includes a collection of drawings and renderings that are provocative, unique, and highly developed with advanced construction details. The structure is clad in wood planks juxtaposed perpendicularly, recalling techniques found in examples of traditional Latvian architecture; it is topped by a roof of polycarbonate sheets that bring in natural daylight from above. The opaque wood shell highlights the transparent stacked windows that protrude from it and provide focus points to various surrounding forest elements. The jury questions the sole use of a hammock for sleeping, but otherwise finds the project and its graphic methods refreshing. It is a design that could be readily built.

2ND PRIZE WINNER+
BB STUDENT AWARD

Project Name

Nest

University

University of oulu

Country

Finland

Project authors

Marko Simsiö

jury commentary

The ‘Nest’ is a meditative treehouse. The jury was pleased with this submission’s use of the trees to provide a home to a meditative cabin isolated in a quiet space above the ground. The project includes a detailed and captivating description of a visitor’s arrival to the forest, and his or her experience traveling to and entering the cabin. The design employs a charred-wood cladding that blends the cabin with the bark of the forest trees; this material also increases the cabin’s resistance to inclement weather and decay. On the interior, a light spruce finish gives way to a warm space that is strikingly different from the exterior shell. The project is decidedly spartan, providing little else than a protective enclosure to sleep within the forest, and it offers a single vertical window for observing the surroundings. The drawings reflect the project’s simplicity. To consider construction, the details would need to be further advanced to include insulation and waterproofing. Nevertheless, the project is feasible and provides minimal disturbance to the forest.

3RD PRIZE WINNER

Project Name

Aesthesia

University

Wrocław university of science and technology

Country

Poland

Project authors

Karolina Domènech
Marta Lisiakiewicz
Emilia Oworuszko
Aleksandra Białkowska

jury commentary

The project is entitled Aesthesia, a term representing the ability to experience sensation. The proposed rectilinear constructions in this submission are comprised of rooms organized linearly according to the senses of touch, sight, and hearing; the designer describes this arrangement as ‘a guiding path to mindfulness’. The typical block-form is divided into halves, one a zone of meditation, and the other a zone for the basic human needs of sleeping, eating, and using the toilet. In each of the sensory spaces, an architectural element - a thin window, perforated metal pipes, textured floors - is employed to isolate and place focus on a particular sensation. Through these means complexity is derived from an otherwise spatially simple design. The project is a clever and thoughtful response to the call for a meditative space within the forest.

BB GREEN AWARD

Project Name

Enveloping

Country

Ukraine

Project authors

Andrii Koval
Olha Laktionova

Honorable mentions

VIEWclose HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Project Name

Echo cabin

Country

Canada

Project authors

Nós Architectes

Project Name

Homo Rodans

Country

United States

Project authors

Zachary Bundy
Nicholas Shekerjian
Elena Rocchi

Project Name

Rooted Cabin

Company

Urban energy works

Country

United States

Project authors

Panos Tharouniatis
Panagiotis Lampronikos
Min Duan

Project Name

Frame

University

Kansas state university

Country

United States

Project authors

Nicholas Horvath

Project Name

Hermitage I

Country

United States

Project authors

Mandira Sareen

Project Name

CabIN/OUT

University

University of dundee

Country

United Kingdom

Project authors

Joseph Watkins

Shortlisted projects

VIEWclose Shortlisted projects

Finland

University of oulu

marko simsiö

Spain

pedro alcántara
jose juan guillamón

Italy

alessio petecchia
andrea bianchi

Moldova

Archizeit studio

alexandru zingaliuc
sandu ursu
mihai cebotari

Russian Federation

Moscow architectural institute (state academy)

matvey genne
polina vasina
marselo rueda

Korea

Chosun university

byeo ri kim
dong won jo
han na rae kim
gyu jin kim

United States

Lawrence technological university

ashraf hijazi

Germany

jakob bohlen
nils hiddessen
heiko lubs

United Kingdom

gianluca santosuosso
matthias kimmel

France

Ensa nantes

julien picard
leah cocks

Canada

verena hornig
javid alibhai
malika butt
ola-ife ojo

Canada

École d'architecture de l'université laval

maîté scherer
fanny matthey-de-l’étang

Italy

francesco michelis
mattia michelis
anita sampogna

Denmark

mikkel trudslev jensen
christoffer thor paulsen

Finland

Aalto university

ayda grisiute

United States

Urban energy works

panos tharouniatis
panagiotis lampronikos
min duan

Italy

Università degli studi di ferrara

andrea molinari
giulia margotti
edoardo balboni

United States

zachary bundy
nicholas shekerjian
elena rocchi

Netherlands

Delft university of technology

florian glenn david reisacher
johannes düber

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

Libya design

walid el-turki
razan elmrayed
loay burwais
mahmoud alsherif

United States

University of new mexico

alodie girmann
rachel trapp
eric santti
christopher melton

United Kingdom

University of dundee

joseph watkins

France

École nationale supérieure d'architecture de marseille

quentin caulle
cyprien baudry

Poland

Wrocław university of science and technology

karolina domènech
marta lisiakiewicz
emilia oworuszko
aleksandra białkowska

Germany

Karlsruher institut für technologie (kit)

jonas zink
ruth bartelmann
lars standop

United States

cameron kollath
jacob cournoyer

United Kingdom

sebastian salas canitrot

Germany

niclas reinke
matteo pelagatti

Netherlands

roel van lent
bram van den heuvel
lars goossens
naomi cheung san

Turkey

süleyman can Çinkılıç
faruk makuloğlu
daniele volante

United States

Kansas state university

nicholas horvath

Greece

Aristotle university of thessaloniki

konstantinos paloubis
chrisanthi karta

United States

john myefski
christopher myefski
ellis wills-begley
aniella goldinger

United States

yuting zhang
huopu zhang

Spain

lluis marcet salvador
raquel fernandez martin
meritxell venteo gallardo
ovidiu valentin ana
 

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