Every writer has a way of working, but most would prefer a peaceful setting to ply their trade. And we suspect there'd be no shortage of competition for a writer's residence at Swiss literature institute Maison de l'Ecriture, which places creatives in a hanging, self-contained cabin in the foothills of the Jura mountains.
The residence is part of the Jan Michalski Foundation in the village of Montricher, a literary facility that includes an auditorium, exhibition hall, library and now a set of writer's residences for Maison de l'Ecriture. An international design competition was held for the writer's modules, with six winners chosen for realization.
Among those was the "In Praise of Shadows" cabin conceived by Norwegian firm Rintala Eggertsson Architects. Suspended from the canopy above, the cabin is built on a structural steel frame with all interior and exterior surfaces covered in locally-sourced timber. The use of wood was a conscious decision to keep the hanging hut as lightweight as possible.
The architects say that in coming up with the design, they considered both the physical and mental needs of the resident in equal parts. This meant dividing the cabin into four categories, split across four half-levels. Bathroom and storage can be found at the bottom, with the kitchen up next, followed by the living and sleeping area, and then the writing room up top.
This layout is meant to encourage a kind of fluidity throughout the space, but it also serves a very practical purpose. It means that the water and central heating units can be housed on the bottom level, with the staircase able to be used as a duct for water pipes and electrical cables.
Each of the windows are oriented to maximize both privacy and natural light, while the wooden walls are packed with three layers of insulation for better energy efficiency. The space on each of the four floors ranges from eight to 17 square meters (86 to 180 sq ft), with the entire structure measuring 8.2 meters (27 ft) tall and fitting snugly beneath the porous concrete canopy above.
Though the Jan Michalski Foundation accepts writers of all types, it says a portion of the 2019 residences will be dedicated to nature writing, which is fitting given the setting. It is accepting applications up until August 31 if such a working environment tickles your fancy.
Source: Rintala Eggertsson Architects
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