Trekking Cabins: Latvia

In collaboration with Rolando Borrayo and Dima Almobarak

Dzintars Nest is a cluster of cabins for gathering and lodging along the trails of Latvia’s Amber Road. This timber cabin is both embedded in the surrounding landscape and announces itself as a humble monument, paying tribute to and respecting its context.

A series of CLT panels provide a well-insulated and spatious cabin that is simultaneously sculptural, faceted to reflect the facets of ambers along this road. CLT construction is the most appropriate material for this proposal, considering the abundance of wood that can be sustainably sourced from the surrounding region, as well as the insulating properties of this material. The panels can also be prefabricated off-site and assembled on-site, minimizing construction costs. A smaller loft area above the lower level provides a sleeping place for two additional hikers. Access to the upper level is through a rope ladder attached to the loft. A circular amber-tinted window on each level colors the surrounding landscape. Amber-tinted circular windows frame selective views outward.

The cabin is designed based around a 3 meter x 3 meter module, which can fit two people comfortably. The cabin is designed to sit on four legs, allowing for height modification based on the nature of the site. Cabins can be installed on a terrain or a flat land. A skylight allows for star-gazing, and photovoltaic cells on the roof provide all the necessary power needed for hikers to charge their devices.

In the future, as more hikers begin to traverse Amber Road, additional cabins can be assembled together in clusters. Different configurations of the cabin placements can respond to the topography, solar orientation, or other environmental features. Over time, as budgetary opportunities allow, additional cabins can be produced and constructed in the vicinity of the existing ones, thereby creating an assemblage. Privacy can be maintained within the individual cabin while the clustering of the cabins together can simultaneously provide optional, partially-enclosed semi-public gathering space.