Silent Meditation Forest Cabin Proposal
Team: Patrick Cordelle, Joe Cordelle
The brief was to design a 15 m² off-grid cabin prototype that could be replicated throughout the ancient forest surrounding the Ozolini Tea Makers in Riga, Latvia. The cabins are designed to accommodate a single person for 4-5 days in silent meditation, no communication or technology allowed.
Our cabin proposal is a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Latvian hut. The design of the space is based on the concept of passive stack ventilation. The cabin features a 19:12 roof that terminates at the top with an operable skylight that provides indirect light as well as a way to control ventilation. During the warmer months of the year, the skylight can be operated remotely to control air circulation. During the winter, the cabin can be heated with a small wood burning stove.
The simple wooden structure features two main meditation spaces. On the entry/ground floor is an indoor/outdoor space that has a direct connection to nature with two sliding glass doors. The L-shaped deck can be screened with a removable mosquito net for protection from insects. This space also features a small kitchenette with storage space for food and utensils, a sink, and two burners. A water tank with a dispenser sits on a shelf above the sink, providing a gravity fed faucet. The cooking burners are fueled by a small propane tank located in the cabinet below. For lighting, the cabin features a simple candle chandelier that can be lit and extinguished with an extended candle lighter and bell snuffer. There is also a hanging kerosene lamp by the desk. The second space is a smaller, intimate loft for meditation and sleeping that provides a different perspective of the forest.
To reduce the carbon footprint, the wood for the structure and cladding would be sourced from the surrounding forest. The dark color of the wood is the result of a process called Shou Sugi Ban, a technique from 18th century Japan that waterproofs and preserves wood by scorching the outer surface with fire and sealing it with linseed oil. The only maintenance required is a periodic reapplication of linseed oil, effectively preserving the wood for well over 50 years without the use of toxic chemicals.
The Ozolini Meditation Cabins will create a sustainable, comfortable, and peaceful space for this unique style of meditation, while maintaining a connection to the forest and local vernacular.
Traditional Latvian Hut
In order to preserve the natural beauty of these woodlands, we propose building a trail of raised wood planks to provide controlled circulation and access to the cabins and toilets. This trail would minimize erosion and sedimentation problems. The dry toilets are simple A frame open air structures with screens to keep insects and animals out. There is a door to provide access and privacy on the path side, but the structure is open to the forest on the opposite side, providing a unique bathroom experience. Like the cabins, there is a gravity fed sink for hand washing. For bathing, outdoor showers are proposed at the existing tea facilities on site.