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[highlight1]  Freya’s Cabin and Robin’s Hut  [/highlight1]

Freya’s Cabin and Robin’s Hut are two of a pair of small buildings located on opposite sides of the Kielder Water along the Lakeside Way. The two buildings, are linked by the story of Freya & Robin, which tells a tale of the two characters who live by the lake and their efforts to meet up. Freya’s Cabin is a beautiful golden structure balanced in long golden stems and carved on the inside like a forest.

Studio Weave create places through playing into and exploring the narratives of spaces. They are fascinated by the powerful role that stories play in creating a sense of place. Their work explores how writing stories stemming from the history, geography and eccentricities of a place can create engaging and distinctive design proposals.

Freya’s Cabin is one of a pair of allegorical visitors’ shelters by Studio Weave overlooking Kielder Water, northern Europe’s largest man-made lake. These and four other new shelters along the Lakeside Way – a 27-mile long walking trail around the reservoir – form part of a series of new artistic and architectural interventions within the Kielder Water and Forest Park.

With Freya’s Cabin and Robin’s Hut, Studio Weave have embraced the man-made nature of the reservoir and park, thinking of it as a stage set against which a story can be told. Their two structures have been imagined within a fairytale that the designers wrote specifically for Kielder, inspired by the two sites, mythology and folklore. Within the story, Freya’s Cabin and Robin’s Hut are designed and built by the characters: the real structures offer visitors evidence of these characters and their adventures.

The structure of Freya’s Cabin:

Freya’s Cabin is the same size as Robin’s Hut, measuring 2.5 m x 3.6 m x 3.75 m tall, and sits about 3 m above the Lakeside Way. The Cabin is constructed from CNC-cut plywood layers pressed together, with each layer having a cutout shape like a stage set. The structure is held together with glue and tension rods that fix through pre-drilled holes in every layer. Some of the layers, including the balustrade of the lake-side front, are clear acrylic. This allows light into the middle of the structure and
creates a forest-cover-like affect.

The structure is raised up off the ground with lots of golden metal “stems” randomly arranged and “planted” into the concrete foundations. Preformed trays of Luvata’s Nordic Royal sheets have been used to wrap the roof, sides and underside of the Cabin. The sheets were perforated to symbolise Freya’s golden tears.

  • The main structure comprised of 148 layers of CNC cut Spruce plywood which were held together using 10 steel rods, with tailor made expansion units at either end allowing for the potential expansion of timber up to 150mm.
  • This plywood cabin sits on a 15mm plate steel base but is free to slide, again due to the expansion and contraction of the Spruce Plywood. The plate is supported by 135 stems [30mm and 25mm solid steel round bar] which are sheathed in brass tube.
  • The installation was incredibly challenging due to the remote nature of the site, but with the help of an excavator (the only vehicle capable of handling the terrain) the base was anchored to its footings and each layer installed one at a time.
  • Freya’s final layer was her cladding, these were CNC punched and folded out of Luvata, an identical material to that used in the production of Pound coins. A small foot bridge was built leading to the Cabin and a glass balustrade installed.

The Story of Freya and Robin:

Robin’s Hut is on the North bank, on the edge of the woodland amongst fir trees and rocks. Robin built himself a simple wooden structure that he covered in timber shingles on this site surrounded by water that he felt gave it a remote, island-like feel.

Freya is named after the Norse goddess of love, beauty and fertility. The goddess loves spring, music and flowers, is very fond of elves and fairies, and is known – on occasion of great sadness – to cry tears of gold. Freya loved to take long walks collecting flowers and pressing them to decorate everything around her.

Freya fell for Robin and showed her affection by making him the gift of an intricate cabin in the image of the woodlands he so loved. She chose a spot opposite and aligned with Robin’s Hut to give Robin the best chance of seeing the Cabin. She modeled it on her flower press, arranging carefully collected branches to make an enchanted forest. She put Foxgloves at the entrance to invite the fairies in, then pressed everything tight together so the cabin would be strong and crisp and last forever.

When she sees Robin rowing off on an adventure, Freya cried tears of gold and wrapped the cabin in them. Meanwhile, Robin turned his head to look back at the lake he loved and noticed something glinting in the distance. He was so curious that he decided to row back and find out what it was and there, of course, was the golden Cabin and Freya. He was moved by the cabin and invited Freya on his adventure with him.

They didn’t leave very long ago, so they are still away adventuring, but if you can find it, you can see Robin’s wooden hut and the golden cabin that Freya made for him, facing each other across the lake, awaiting their return.

Studio Weave

This project is for two structures to be placed on the bank of Kielder Water, Northumberland. The structures will provide a stopping place for visitors walking or cycling along the lakeside path. They will also provide visible markers or destination points from which to begin or end a walk or bike-ride.

For this project we are embracing the man-made nature of Kielder Water and Forest. We like to think of the area as a stage set or backdrop against which we can tell a story. Within the story, the water and forest are completely natural and our built proposal is to create evidence of the story’s characters and their adventures.

Robin’s Hut is on the North bank, on the edge of the woodland amongst fir tress and rocks. Robin wanted to live by the woods where he loves to climb trees and play with the woodland animals. He built himself a simple wooden structure…That he clad in timber shingles on this site surrounded by water that he felt gave it a remote, island-like feel.

The cabin that Freya built for Robin is in the image of what she imagined Robin’s woodland home to be like. She chose a spot directly opposite and lined up with Robin’s Hut, to give Robin the best chance of seeing her Cabin across the lake.

For the walls she arranged the strongest branches from thick to thin. And for the roof she made an enchanted forest ceiling with twisted branches tickling each other. She put Foxgloves at the entrance to invite the fairies in, then she pressed everything tight together so they would be strong and crisp and last forever. She modeled it on her flower press and balanced it up high on the tallest straightest stems she could find. When she saw Robin rowing away, Freya cried tears of gold and wrapped the cabin in them.

[highlight1]  Project Data  [/highlight1]

Project name: Freya’s Cabin and Robin’s Hut
Location: Kielder Water, Northumberland, United Kingdom
Coordinates: Freya’s Cabin / 55.177310, -2.525944
Type: Public Facilities, Art in Architecture, Cabin / Hut, Prefab House, Lake House, Wood House, ViewPoint
Project Area:

  • Freya’s Cabin: 9 sqm
  • Robin’s Hut: 9 sqm

Status: Built
Project Year: 2009
Completion Year: 2009

  • 2011 European Copper in Architecture Awards – Freya’s Cabin – Shortlisted


[highlight1]  The people  [/highlight1]

Client / Owner / Developer: Kielder Partnership
Architects: Studio Weave, 33 Saint John’s Church Road, London, E9 6EJ, United Kingdom
Structural Engineers: Price and Myers
Contractor: Millimetre
Copper Supplier: Luvata Sales OY (UK)
Text Description: © Courtesy of Studio Weave, copperconcept
Images: © Studio Weave, Millimetre

[highlight1]  Location Map  [/highlight1]

pixy Freya's Cabin and Robin’s Hut / Studio Weave

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