Contest for Community Forest International, Sackville, Canada - 2014
Architetti Giuseppe Di Pasqua + Ernesto Di Giorgio
ShelteRelax is conceived as a cozy retreat for meditation and for renewing your connection to the earth. It may serve for a rest after a long walk in the nature, or rather as an inspiring setting for thinking, writing, dreaming.
Given the constraints and design challenges such as the physical characteristics of the building site and the allocated budget along with our will to make it eco-friendly, we have drawn inspiration from local history. As a result, our shelter is designed to resemble the dwellings of the indigenous people and, like a wigwam, has a vertical structure so as to allow the gathering around the fire (i.e. the wood stove).
We encourage the use of simple building techniques such as those deployed for building the typical prairie-style house ("Platform frame system") and the thatched houses (mud plaster and foundations with jute bags). Where possible the project maximizes the use of local building materials such as the wood from fallen trees, resin for waterproofing use, as well as natural raw materials such as earth and gravel to build the foundations.
ShelterRelax combines the adventure of a tent with the sophistication of a permanent structure, accommodating a solar electricity system and two windows located strategically for contemplating the landscape.
It consists of a two-story split level structure: the lower level hosts the living room and has a Southward view to the valley; the upper one is a dedicated sleeping area and is characterized by a more intimate and shady environment, with a smaller window facing East. The entrance is at an intermediate level, including two storage caves for various equipment and for the location and storage of the PV system associated electronics and batteries.
The building sits on a slight slope (8%) and has an inclined-North wall (i.e. the entrance), incorporating a ladder designed to facilitate the PV system maintenance. A south inclined roof (30%) is designed to accommodate the solar panels.
The ventilated exterior walls consist of 23x5cm wood studs to be placed at 55cm intervals, and of a number of straw-blocks. A 1,8cm OSB panel is used as an internal closing element, whereas protection against exterior influences is ensured through the use of a layer made from clay plaster and a coating made from white pine boards placed horizontally.
Despite the dry soil and its compactness, we have conceived the slab on the ground as resting on a foundation of trunks sharpened and covered with pitch to ensure waterproofing.