Trunk House | Paul Morgan Architects
A unique cabin stands in the Australian bush a couple hours drive from Melbourne. “Trunk House” is named for the stringybark tree trunks that encircle it, supporting the roof. They were the castoffs of logging operations, left behind in the surrounding woods due to the limited commercial value of forked trees. However Melbourne-based Paul Morgan Architects realized that it was possible to utilize the natural strength of the Y-shaped trunks by joining them to create what is effectively a large triangulated truss.
The trunks were carefully fitted together at their tops and connected by hidden fasteners, giving the appearance of a single continuous piece of wood zig-zagging around the cabin. The trunks carry the outer ends of log rafters which radiate out from a central post. The single-slope roof projects out over a deck on one side of the cabin. On the opposite side, it extends over a carport before folding down into the ground.
The cabin’s floor plan has two small bedroom in 85 m2 (915 ft2). The bedrooms and a bathroom are lined up on the carport side of the cabin. From the entrance door in the carport, a short hallway takes you past the private spaces and into the main living area. The first thing you see is a sweeping view of the forest, visible through a faceted semi-circular glass wall. With the roof supported by the log rafters and tree trunks, the outer wall is non-structural, allowing for the extensive glass. Looking out, the tree trunks create the illusion that the woods come right up to the cabin walls.
To further integrate the cabin with the forest, the interior is lined with stringybark planks. The wood was milled on-site from the trees that had to be removed to make room for the cabin. It has a clear finish, retaining the natural color variations. The stringybark wood was also used to build the kitchen cabinets and a built-in seating and storage unit.
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