Dream of an escape to the off-grid cabins in Kogelberg Nature Reserve

When the team at KLG Architects, a South Africa-based company
that specializes in contemporary design, was asked to design a
retreat deep inside a nature reserve, the result is architecture
that respects nature while providing a safe, comfortable and
off-grid space for
humans in it.

stone and wood cabin

Located in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve, 1.5 hours outside of
Cape Town, the retreat’s purpose is to accommodate the
environmental staff who work on the reserve as well as provide
guest amenities, which include a natural swimming pool and several cabins.

Related: Nimmo Bay offers a remote, eco-friendly spa

wood boardwalks connecting stone and wood cabins

The challenges were significant with the remote location,
including an inability to get large equipment into the region, so
the team began by studying the landscape to understand the
topography and vegetation. Careful consideration in protecting the
fynbos region was a primary goal. With this central focus, the team
selected a location for the structures that would have the lowest
impact and began sketching designs on paper. In the end, the
architects created five two-person cabins and three six-person
cabins set in place with minimal site
, including small concrete supports. Each cabin is raised
off the ground, allowing animals to cross and water to flow
beneath. A network of floating boardwalks connects the cabins while
preserving the natural environment.

wood cabin with glass door opening to the inside

Pine was selected as the primary building material due to its
availability and natural gray fading that allows it to blend into
the landscape. Each cabin is situated to highlight the views and
comes complete with an outdoor deck with a private pergola for
protection from the sun and heat. Inside, small wood-burning stoves
warm the cabins at night while strategically placed vents provide
cooling cross-ventilation.
High specification insulation throughout the cabins further
contributes to energy savings.

covered wood deck facing mountainous landscape

The designers also incorporated off-grid technology such as
waterless Enviro-loos. This form of dry sanitation relies on heat
from the sun to convert sewage into compost without the use of
water, chemicals or electricity.

wood-framed sliding glass door opening to mountain views

The water that is
needed in the retreat is sourced from the nearby Palmiet River,
which is treated at a new water purification plant. Full solar
geyser systems were used throughout. In addition, green roofs are
planted with carefully chosen endemic grasses, which help cool the
space. As described by KLG Architects, “The resultant design sits
harmoniously in the environment and connects the user to the
natural landscape, providing a perfect retreat experience.”


Via ArchDaily

Photography by David Southwood via KLG Architects

stone and wood cabins with mountains in background

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News 2
Dream of an escape to the off-grid cabins in Kogelberg
Nature Reserve