Sneeoosh is a cabin designed by zeroplus architects for retreat place in Puget Sound, Washington. In the development process, eco friendly construction process was done in such ways to provide very minimal disturbances to the surrounded environment. Some limitations were adopted for this purpose, to create trully eco construction and good relationship with the environment.
There were three limitations used in the design and construction process of this sustainable cabin :
- The first is the site that is full of mature Douglas fir and cedar trees (some up to three feet in diameter with a dense marine underbrush, including salal bushes) should be kept in minimal disturbances, if possible it should be undisturbed.
- The materials used should support the first limitation, also should provide efficiency of the natural system. This can be achieved by controlling the lightness of the eco construction.
- The cabin should be thermally comfortable.
All of these limitation were tried to be realized by the architect to achieve maximum sustainability, both for the cabin and for the surroundings also.
The eco friendly building was built by utilizing minimally invasive concrete disks as its foundation, providing house elevation, to make sure plants and other wildlife can continue growing. Not only the large tap roots of the trees were protected, but also the very small capillary-like roots that trace through the top humus layer. A fence was used to create a boundary of the construction area, minimizing the disturbances to the environment. The parking space are separated from the house, connected by a small path.
In order to create a beautiful connection between the interior and exterior, the use of glass took an important role. This is also supported by the existing of light monitors, built into the giant roof, reaching up through the branches, providing sun light access through the tall tree.
To create lightness effect for this sustainable building, beside the elevated foundation, the use of light weight materials were chosen. The structure should be efficiently stable and has good durability. By this, prefabricated steel system, that relies on tension for support, was chosen. SIP materials were also chosen for roof. SIP also provides good thermal performance because of the existing of insulation layers.
The sustainable building
is divided into two different thermal areas. The first is the “opened” area, the living space which is glazed and has good connectiln to outdoor. The second is the insulated area located in the upper floor, the sleeping area which is highly insulated, quiet, dark, and turns inward. This separation were taken based on the experience of backpacking, where outdoor activities are done a long the day, and sleeping at night in a sleeping bag inside the tent. By this, the thermal comfort can be provided optimally for every activities of the inhabitants.
This eco friendly construction may provide a retreat place that is seen nestled to the landscape. The architecture concept may provide a new inspiration on having a good balance between the environment and the building.