Bruny Island Retreat, an Off-Grid Cabin in Tasmania

Bruny Island Retreat: Can you imagine living without chairs or a sofa? Dr. Sophia Shih recommends it. Emergency doctor in Hobart, the capital of the Australian island state of Tasmania, Shih spends her professional life traveling to remote parts of Australia and says that she is almost never in the shared apartment that she uses based. For her few weeks off, she wanted to retire to a rustic place and had very specific thoughts on what it should and should not include, movable furniture belonging to the latter category.

Shih, 43, grew up in Taiwan in a Japanese-style home that gave him an appreciation for “highly designed minimalist design” – and the ability to happily sit cross-legged at a coffee table to eat, work and read. . For her dream cabin, she set her sights on the wild island of Bruny, off the southeast coast of Tasmania, and, after acquiring 99 acres of land, mostly conservation forests, she approached architects Hugh Maguire and Dan Devine of Hobart Maguire & Devine to design it.

Shih found the architects through a mutual hiking friend, and the three embraced the idea of ​​a well-planned retreat, with, as Maguire says, “nothing extraordinary to crowd out loneliness.” Join us for a visual escape and think about trekking one day: when she is not in residence, Sophia rents the property on Airbnb (scroll to the end for the link).

Photograph of Rob Maver, courtesy of Maguire & Devine.

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Above: “Design meets Sophia’s desire for a place of renewal where she can indulge in the simple pleasures of reading, the violin and stargazing,” write the architects. The house is bordered by a screen-shaped pergola with integrated storage for firewood and gas cans. On arrival, visitors park their cars here and collect these essential supplies to operate the cabin.

“The site is completely off-grid, and as such, the cabin collects its own rainwater, is powered by photovoltaic panels and heated by a wood oven, while the gas provides hot water and cooking on the hob, “explain the architects. “My job requires leadership and intensive communications,” says Sophia. “I hope it is not difficult to understand that I crave solitude and calm when I am on leave. And since I travel so much by plane, I am deeply aware of being a polluter and of the importance of a sustainable life. ”

The structure is covered with Zincalume metal (a material that refers to zone & # 8
Above: The structure is covered with Zincalume metal (a material that refers to agricultural buildings in the region) and merbau wood “providing texture and warmth to the touch”, explain the architects. A spectacular view of the landscape is framed by the large square window facing south at the rear of the cabin.
The bridges oriented to the east and to the west extend on the sides, & # 8
Above: Bridges facing east and west extend sideways, “flush with the ground, eliminating the need for railings or any visual obstruction while allowing the edge to be used for seats ”, explain the architects. Both have sliding glass doors with slightly frosted glass (for privacy, a rice paper-like light and visibility for birds); when open, they “dramatically change the sense of scale, space and connection to the site”.
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Above: “Our mission was to design a building like a piece of furniture with everything Sophia needed. The only furniture allowed was a coffee table and a mattress on the mezzanine, ”explains Maguire.

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