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Cabanas no Rio

Comporta, Portugal
1 of 9 Nelson Garrido

Aires Mateus architects used only reclaimed timber to construct this pair of waterfront cabins in Grândola, Portugal. Named Cabanas no Rio, which translates as cabins on the river, the two rustic structures offer a rural retreat for a pair of inhabitants.

One hut contains a living area, with a simple counter that can be used for preparing food, while the other accommodates a bedroom with a small toilet and sheltered outdoor shower. Architects used recycled wooden panels to build the walls, floors, roof and fittings of the two structures, leaving the material exposed both inside and out. The edge of the roof sits flush with the walls, the wood is expected to change colour as it exposed to the weather.

"The wharf is medieval and assembled with wood," said the architects, explaining their material choice. "Its identity is kept long beyond the material's resistance, an identity that allows to change, to replace, keeping all the values." With a combined area of just 26 square metres, the cabins were both built off-site and transported to the site on the back of a lorry. Each was then hoisted into place, framing a small wooden deck that leads out onto a jetty.

The project develops two spaces: one to unwind with the support of a kitchen integrated in the same material of the walls; other as a sleeping area with a small bathroom and a shower. The construction is entirely finished in reused wood, subjected to the weather that will keep on changing it. The forms, highly archetypal, are designed by the incorporation of the functions in these minute areas, and by the varied inclination of the ceilings that tension the spaces according to their function.

Sítio da Carrasqueira