Tiny Houses

Like a rolling stone: Tiny Alpine cabin resembles an oversized rock

Like a rolling stone: Tiny Alp...
Antoine, by Swiss architecture firm Bureau A (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
Antoine, by Swiss architecture firm Bureau A (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
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Antoine, by Swiss architecture firm Bureau A (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
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Antoine, by Swiss architecture firm Bureau A (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
This is just a photo of a nearby rock, not a cabin (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
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This is just a photo of a nearby rock, not a cabin (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
Though sparse, Antoine is quite well kitted-out with fold-down furniture (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
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Though sparse, Antoine is quite well kitted-out with fold-down furniture (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
The shelter was transported to location by truck (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
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The shelter was transported to location by truck (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
Bureau A reports that the shelter is installed in a very precarious spot (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
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Bureau A reports that the shelter is installed in a very precarious spot (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
Blink and you'd miss it but this large boulder is actually a tiny cabin (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
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Blink and you'd miss it but this large boulder is actually a tiny cabin (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
The cabin features a skylight and one window (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
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The cabin features a skylight and one window (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
Fold-down furniture that reveals a table, bed, and seating (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
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Fold-down furniture that reveals a table, bed, and seating (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
A wood burner provides heating (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
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A wood burner provides heating (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
The wooden cabin was encased in concrete (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
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The wooden cabin was encased in concrete (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
The construction process (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
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The construction process (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
The construction process (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
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The construction process (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
Transporting the shelter (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
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Transporting the shelter (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
Architects plans for the shelter (Image: Bureau A)
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Architects plans for the shelter (Image: Bureau A)
There's no toilet, and you'd need to be careful if popping outside at night (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
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There's no toilet, and you'd need to be careful if popping outside at night (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
The project was commissioned to host artists and built by hand in a nearby mountain village (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
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The project was commissioned to host artists and built by hand in a nearby mountain village (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)

Here's an example of small living that's a little different from the norm. What appears on first glance to be a large boulder is actually a tiny cabin that contains all the basics you'd need for a short stay in the mountains. The cabin is the work of Swiss architecture firm Bureau A, and was recently installed in a sculpture park in the Swiss Alps.

Bureau A tells us that the inspiration for the unusual project came from Swiss writer Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz. His novel Derborence features a protagonist, Antoine, that survives a rock fall and spends seven weeks living buried beneath the rubble before his escape – thus the tiny cabin's name, Antoine.

Fold-down furniture that reveals a table, bed, and seating (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)
Fold-down furniture that reveals a table, bed, and seating (Photo: Dylan Perrenoud)

The shelter is built from wood and encased in a concrete shell that's broken only by a single window, skylight, and door. Antoine is reasonably well kitted-out, and contains a wood burner, plus some basic fold-down panels that serve as table, bed, and seating. There's no toilet though, and you'd want to be careful when venturing outside to take care of business, as Bureau A reports that the shelter is installed in a very precarious spot.

The project was created to host visiting artists and built by hand in a nearby mountain village. The video below shows it being transported to location by truck.

Source: Bureau A

Heart of Stone

6 comments
BigGoofyGuy
It would make for a perfect retreat since it blends in so well with the surroundings. I think it is neat.
deni377
I hope those small supporting rocks underneath are secured well because it would be a wild ride down the hill with someone inside.
owlbeyou
...and the reason/justification for making it in the shape of a big rock is because it should look like just another rock on the hill? Or just build a lighter, normal looking unit that has more windows, cheaper, easier to install wherever, a functioning kitchenette, and a composting toilet!
Noel K Frothingham
owlbeyou, you've overlooked the obvious. If a person wanted a semi-conventional home built, there are a plethora of contractors (or motivated handymen) that can build it. The author clearly stated that the 'boulder' structure was for intermittent use, not as a home away from home. It is not designed to be a replacement for the traditional log cabin. Don't try to make this structure into what it is not.
Mark Salamon
As an exercise in "architecture for architecture's sake", it's somewhat novel, but beyond that it offers very little practical usefulness. I agree with owlbeyou -- creative energy is better invested in cabin design that can fulfill all the functions of a modern home, by incorporating technological advances that make it efficient and self-sustaining.
Bob
Somehow this reminds me of the Star Trek episode where they were observing another culture from a location disguised as the rocky face of a mountain side. My next thought is Mom's frequent comment that they found me under a rock. Maybe that is why it looks like home. I'm surprised that there aren't more habitats like this.