“I want this place to be my retreat, give me a bed and a bathtub and I’m happy”. This is the brief we had from our client from the project Cabanas na Comporta, a small private residential project. The initial project was just that, a 12 sqm bedroom hut with a bathtub, the “intimate module” as we like to call it. Gradually, as the conversations with the client started to develop, a new hut appeared on the project. The “social module”. Then another hut for safekeeping the clients’ car collection. The “service module”. With this organicity more huts started blossoming and at this point – why not a pool too?
As local connoisseurs, we based our construction method on the traditional fishermen huts/cabanas as an inspiration for our project. These huts have been built in this area for years and are very functional and quick to build which was another important point of our brief. With this construction type, we had a couple of challenges to face which was the hot-summer Mediterranean climate and the mosquitos which are well known to bug you in the area. We implemented various sustainable strategies to reduce the heat sensation such as the calculated overhangs in front of the main windows, low emissivity window panes and a tensioned solar shading system in between the cabana modules.
Solar orientation was a key factor in the placement of the cabanas as well as the direction of the wind flow. The cabana flooring is dark cement in order to take advantage of its thermal mass properties and a double-blind system (interior and exterior) to control heat gain during summer/winter and doubling up as a mosquito net since the external blind literally zips down when needed ensuring the mosquitos stay out.
We collaborated with Mima Housing which is a prefabricated expert studio which helped us with the process of the project.
We used prefabrication building methods such as OSB sandwich panels and prefabricated wooden joints all inserted in our bespoke cabana project. When extreme temperatures arise we have photo-voltaic panels and heat pumps to be used as an alternative energy source to heat or cool the cabanas. Our facade finish is charred douglas wood as a sustainable feature as well. The Japanese technique shou sugi ban was a no brainer – no toxins or chemicals involved, maintenance free and showing the beauty of the veins of the wood itself. The black cabanas sit perfectly amidst the wild pine trees inviting you to come in and share your thoughts.
All pictures by Nelson Garrido