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Cliff Hut Retreat

Summer. 2021

Alaska. United States

Competition Design

Harnessing a building tradition that prioritizes harmony between humans & nature.

The Kenai Fjords is a place of constant environmental change. This Alaskan landscape is in never-ending tension with its own natural creations and the humans that inhabit it. Among the many glaciers present in Seward, Alaska, the well-known Exit Glacier is an effective display of the challenges of global warming and the battle many architects face in creating the right amount of order among the chaos of nature. Nevertheless, the human reluctance to surrender to nature has become our ultimate weakness. This cabin retreat is placed atop a large mound on the rapidly retreating Exit Glacier and serves as a balance between a comforting retreat and a daring ice hike up the glacier.

Lightweight structures, prefabricated units, and easily transportable systems. 

A rainwater catchment system filters water collected into self-draining containers within the walls of the cabin and provides water for cooking, drinking, and washing. Two solar panels are placed on the east side of the outer shell, sourcing energy for the cabin’s lighting. The project in itself reflects the journey of the hikers that it is providing refuge for. Upon entering the cabin, hikers can hang up their soaked clothes and gear in the first A-frame volume. In the Second A-frame, the visitors can find their housing needs with a peak of the view of the glacier. At the third A-frame, large floor to ceiling windows cover the end of the space to reveal the scenery and serve as a display of the physically and mentally daring experience of the ice hike. Over time, as the glacier retreats away, the cabin will overlook the dissipation of the glacier. The cabin reminds its visitors, in both a beautiful and bold way, of nature’s transient quality.

Interior View

Exterior View

cliff hut plan + section [Converted] (2).jpg
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