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CHALK HILL STRAW BALE CABIN nevada city, ca

firm / ARKiN TILT ARCHITECTS Principal Architects / david arkin and anni tilt project type / residential images / EriC Millette

The Chalk Hill Cabin may be simple, but it certainly does not lack sophistication. “Our clients wanted a small, simple off-grid homestead to tryout. It needed to be low-maintenance, fire-resistant, and somewhat secure when the aren’t there,” says architect David Arkin. “We proposed the combination of straw-bale construction and a high-mass solar heating system as integral parts of meeting these goals.” Essentially, Arkin and Tilt laid the cabin out over “two simple shed forms.” They built the first form, which houses the living spaces, using straw-bale construction and turned it to the south to maximize sunlight exposure. They housed the mechanical systems and bathroom in the second form, a wooden building capped with photovoltaic panels on its roof. The high-mass solar heating systems is freeze protected, so it’s not necessary to draing the pipes or leave on a heating system while the cabin is unoccupied during colder spats. True to the keep-it-simple mentality, the architects also opted for an open plan and installed a slide-away nana wall that opens to an outdoor terrace. This keeps the house cool and cuts out the need for air conditioning. Combined, Arkin says these decisions make the cabin “easy to use, easy to maintain, and easy to live in,” adding that “there’s nothing luxurious about this project, which is perhaps its greatest charm.”

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Architecture: Volume 1  

A Special Edition From Design Bureau 2012

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