It’s no secret to you all that I’m very passionate about design. Having been married to an architect for well over 25 years, my appreciation for architecture and sustainable design continues to grow exponentially – hence my excitement to feature the award-winning ANNA Cabin!
Designed by Dutch architect Caspar Schols, this innovative hotel concept was recently honoured with the World Hotel Building of the Year 2022 (WAF) award in Lisbon, and it’s easy to see why.
The cabin has so many unique and amazing features, but its wooden body with movable walls and windows is simply astounding. This very clever concept not only encourages relaxation, but it also allows the guest to control the airflow, natural light, and warmth – an ideal example of integrated design.
ANNA Stay provides the perfect opportunity to fully immerse yourself in nature. Designed for off-grid living, it features two layers of protective sliding shells, which can both be slid aside to allow access to your own outdoor sanctuary. Mounted on aluminium railing, the hardwood exterior can be parted to reveal the inner double-glazed glass shell, opening up the space to natural light or a star-studded evening. What’s more, the glass shell can also slide away, leaving the cabin’s interior – and its occupants – open to the elements.
But this flexibility does not compromise the cabin’s comfort. ANNA offers superior insulation that can be easily adjusted according to external temperatures or weather conditions, guaranteeing warmth throughout winter months while enabling natural daylight when desired.
This unique design allows guests total control over their climate levels: make it rainproof during summer storms, yet airy on balmy days; let in crisp breezes at night, but retain precious heat come morning time... all while living and sleeping beneath its glazed enclosure, all year round!
Anna's creative architecture enables a unique way to interact with nature, allowing us the opportunity to discover its beauty and rawness from uncommon perspectives. As we observe how nature harmoniously responds to our environment through ANNA’s designs, it invites us into its rhythms so that we may become entwined in this majestic connection.
According to neuroscientist Prof. Dr. Margriet Sitskoorn (Tilburg University), whenever we are in contact with our surroundings (and especially the natural environment), recovery processes begin in ‘default mode.’ If the brain is overstimulated or under-stimulated, it can lead to exhaustion, burnout, and depression, which means that spending time in nature offers an antidote to the fast-paced modern world and its effects. Our everyday lives often overlook our inner and outer nature, a world that Anna invites you to connect with.
Anna's design celebrates a marriage between architecture and nature, reflecting how the two can coexist in harmony. An embodiment of harmonious evolution, it is sure to inspire future designs that seek to capture this unique balance.
If you’ll allow me to get a bit technical for a moment, we can delve into the project’s incredible design specs! First of all, ANNA is modularly developed, which means that the on-site construction time is short and the ecological disruption is minimal. It has been designed so that in the future, 80% of its unique parts can be manufactured locally, via a digital file, on CNC machines and 3D printers – crucially, the mounting is made from recycled plastics!
As for the sliding mechanisms, that’s where things get really impressive. 26 uniquely designed extrusion profiles were created using rubber and aluminium extrusion techniques to ensure that ANNA slides perfectly and remains water-tight and wind-tight. An integrated wind labyrinth is the most innovative part of the patented aluminium rails, while one of the biggest challenges was realising a tolerance of less than 1 millimetre in the moving parts due to the different ways materials expand in diverse climates and conditions. The designers came up with the perfect solution using Accoya wood, birch ply, and aluminium.
All of this means that the cabin is sturdy, weatherproof, and eco-friendly – in fact, ANNA's materials can all be completely separated and reused!
After graduating from the University of Amsterdam with a BSc and an MSc in Physics, Schols was tasked with building a garden building for his mother, who wanted a place to meditate, engage with her hobbies, and host dinners and her grandchildren’s theatre shows.
The result was the beginning of the ANNA Cabin design: Garden House, a project that attracted international publicity and a variety of award nominations, including the Dirk Roosenburg award (Eindhoven), Radical Innovation Awards (New York), and Dezeen Small Building of the Year award (London). Garden House became one of the top-3 most popular architectural projects of 2017 in the Netherlands. The same year, Schols was awarded a scholarship to study at the Architectural Association in London (2016-2019).
Currently, he is working on several art and architectural projects, including the ANNA Cabin, which also received numerous awards and nominations, such as the A+ Awards (New York) Project of the Year (out of 5,000 projects worldwide), the World Hotel Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival (WAF), and the Arc22 Dutch Architecture Awards as one of the top-3 most innovative architecture projects in the Netherlands.
To stay at an ANNA Cabin, book here.
To learn more about Anna, click here.