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J Foster submits plans for £15k urban cabin

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Emerging studio J Foster Architects has revealed plans for a 5m2 cabin in a garden in North London 

The timber cabin will act as a ‘sanctuary from urbanity and modernity’ in the Islington garden of a designer. 

Former Patel Taylor architect Jeremy Foster, who set up his Holloway-based practice in 2014, said he wanted to create a cabin in the woods that was specific to its North London setting while interpreting the Norwegian ‘hytte’ cabin typology. 

The cabin, which sits beneath mature sycamore and ash trees, will be constructed from plywood cassettes clad externally in Siberian Larch. 

Internally the cabin is clad in Douglas fir and it will also feature openable bris-soleil screens to its doors and windows designed to fill the interior space with light. 

If the scheme gets the go-ahead it is expected to complete in April 2017. 

J Foster gif 2

Ground floor plan

Woodland cabin by J Foster

Woodland cabin by J Foster

Upper floor plan

Woodland cabin by J Foster

Woodland cabin by J Foster

Roof plan

Woodland cabin by J Foster

Woodland cabin by J Foster


Woodland cabin by J Foster

Woodland cabin by J Foster

Woodland cabin by J Foster

Woodland cabin by J Foster


Woodland cabin by J Foster

Woodland cabin by J Foster

Architect’s view 

Ellen Rees wrote of the imagined past and ancestry conceptualized in Norwegian cabin life and this resonates as an appealing counterpoint to working life in London. The cabin allows an individual to practice asceticism at will. Historically the hytte was a signifier for the working poor, lumberjacks, hunters, fishermen, but retreating to this space in an urban context provides a baffle to and release from the everyday. 

At its heart the main space centres on the wood burning stove, wrapped with a wall of storage and a writing desk. The room can be opened out in summer to connect to the garden or can be fully enclosed to maintain privacy. 

The exciting prospect is that this design is transmutable – it has been conceived as a kit of parts and could be re-imagined in a forest or lakeside setting. 

J Foster gif

Project data

Location Islington, London
Type of project Residential
Client Private
Architect J Foster Architects
Structural engineer Momentum
Main contractor subject to tender
Appointment invited
Planning submission target November 2016
Tender date January 2017
Start on site February 2017
Completion date April 2017
Contract duration 8 weeks
Gross internal floor area 4.8m2
Form of contract RIBA Domestic Building Contract 2014
Total cost £10,000 - 15,000 inc VAT and fit out

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Readers' comments (1)

  • It would be good to see a slightly larger - or modified - version that could support living for a few days or more, way beyond the road end, with the kit of parts capable of being delivered by pack horse or even human, without recourse to a helicopter. Is there really a grove of trees, as photographed, in Islington?

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