Gulf Islands Cabin

Location Gulf Islands, Canada
Design Principal Tom Kundig

Set on an island off the coast of Vancouver Island, this single-room cabin covers the basics of living. It is a no-maintenance retreat where the emphasis is on the experience of nature. A large, weathered steel panel slides across a window wall, securing the space when the owner is away.

A large weathered steel panel slides across the glazed facade, securing the space when the owner is away. The panel, hung from barn hinges and operated by hand, is commodity steel pulled off a stack before fabrication; the mill markings will eventually fade. In addition to securing the cabin, the panel modulates light to the interior and serves as a shield for the open-air shower.

The cabin is so small you have to go outside—that’s the point!

Tom Kundig Design Principal

Purposely built on the site of a former cabin, the tiny—191 square feet—structure fits within the footprint of the previously disturbed area. A retaining wall formed of rammed local earth is set against a raw steel-clad box incorporating highly insulated glass. The untreated mild steel cladding is allowed to weather naturally and will eventually blend in with the surrounding rocks and foliage. Inside, wood-finished surfaces create a cozy refuge. A small and efficient wood stove heats a room that contains a bed, kitchenette, and toilet. Interior surfaces are primarily cedar harvested from fallen logs on the property and from a demolished local trestle bridge.

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