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THE CABINS
AT COFFEE RIDGE 

CONCEPTUALIZING THE OVERALL

With such a similar program and context, variations in the cabins pose a unique architectural challenge. CW architects began by studying the program and the surroundings each cabin site offered the future occupants. Thinking broadly, the reason for the stay at Coffee Ridge is to enjoy the wellness benefits nature has to offer. The first revelation to a universal concept tied to the context began with just that. The realization that the outdoor spaces in each building were the primary spaces while the interior spaces were secondary. Thinking of the outdoors as the served and the interiors as the service we began exploring "inside out" architectural concepts. This realization, however, does not instill uniqueness in the structures. To achieve a balance between unique buildings offering variation and a level of cohesiveness that creates a strong overall identity, CW began to think of the buildings as a "kit of parts" that can be reconfigured and repurposed to solve specific site and program-driven variables at each cabin. 


 
THE KIT OF PARTS

The components that make up the cabins of Coffee Ridge are thought of separately and arranged in different ways to create uniqueness in each cabin. 

The Platform: While walking through nature, especially in East Tennessee, you rarely find level ground. The Platform is the first architectural component we need to perform any activity. A level surface for enjoying a meal, laying in bed, or any number of functions buildings need to operate. The cabins should feature a hovering platform to both enjoy the activities within and delicately touch the sensitive, steep sloping surfaces of the ground plane.

The Canopy: Shelter is perhaps a building's most basic pragmatic benefit to the occupant. Most activities related to architecture need a shelter to shed water and block sunlight. The shelter can come in a variety of shapes and sizes but selecting simple forms, is preferred to match the vernacular architecture of the area.

The Structure: Combining the canopy and structure, poetic connections can be made between the canopies of buildings and the surrounding trees. Similar to the trunks of the tree supporting the forest canopy, the posts support the man-made canopy structure of our buildings. 

The Pod: While the majority of the focus is exterior space, there are some activities that need conditioning. The pod is a volume of temperature control placed separate from the other components. A necessity to provide comfort for guests during harsh months while offering the design freedom of position.  
 
Once the elements are placed these kit elements then get modified based upon the context, program, and other parts in the kit. 
GOALS OF THE STAY

Dotted along the resort, each cabin has to offer a unique experience of a secluded mountain stay for guests. Imagine the experience of stargazing while lying in bed, enjoying a bath in the forest, and listening to nature over a morning cup of coffee. These are just some of the experiences to capture in the cabins. 
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Nature: A sloped ground plane without human activity.
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The Platform: A hovering surface built to provide a place for program and activity
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The Canopy: A shelter to provide protection from the elements for the activity. 
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The Pod: A temperature contolled environment for sensitive program
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Element Modification: Allowing the elements in the kit to be manipulated by program, context, and each other.
Cabin 1

Cabin 1 is located in one of the major meadows at Coffee Ridge. CW wanted to take advantage of both the visual and physical connection of the meadow and the social potential of the porch overlooking the meadow.

The platform or "porch" responds to the meadow by stepping gradually from ground level to the cabin platform. This physical connection to the meadow allows the occupant to enjoy both the openness and social connection of the meadow without creating a privacy issue given the elevation change.
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The shelter defines both the exterior and interior space with one sweeping form while the pod hovers above the grass offing a framed view back to the field. The cabin in this case acts less like a building and more like a pavilion by having the major spaces outdoors. 
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Cabin 2

Cabin 2 was destined to occupy the trees as it sits in a dense part of the forest.

The platform hovers above the ground and has a direct view of the surrounding wildlife occupying the nearby trees. With a more inward focus, the cabin utilizes a vernacular "Dog Trout" porch defining the primary living space of the cabin. This outdoor living room separates the dining and kitchen pod from the sleeping and bath pod. This separation creates a clear disconnect between the public dining area where guests are served meals and the more intimate space of the bedroom.  

The shelter uses one simple form to define all the spaces and bleeds down the facade to create stronger barriers between the private bedrooms and the nearby hiking trail. An additional louver component was placed to mimic the vertical lines of the forest also providing an operable edge to block off the view from nearby trails. With the cabins ability to trasform public space to private space, the cabin can be located closer to hiking trails giving the occupants quick access to mountainous exploration. 
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