Using Wooden Crates as a Building Material to Create “The Fortified Cabin”

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Titled “The Fortified Cabin”, this unique retreat takes inspiration from childhood huts – an insubstantial structure built to protect the occupants from inhospitable surroundings.



In this case, the structure has been built as a playful getaway rather than a necessary shelter. It’s been designed by an architectural trio: Benjamin Lagarde, Clara Copiglia, and Tim Cousin.



The project was completed in 2018 and covers a meager area of 64.6-square-feet (6-square-meters). It can be found perched on a hill overlooking the valley of Albertville in Mercury, France.


The topoanalysis of the childhood hut reveals its two essential qualities: domesticity and fortification. This contrast of conditions is at the essence of our design.


The structure is set a few feet off of ground level. The simple timber supporting frame gives way to a blocky upper frame that forms the actual body of the shelter.


The upper section looks to be composed of a series of wooden crates. They almost look haphazardly thrown together thanks to their various sizes and shapes.

It is the expression of the prefabricated boxes layout that constitutes the pavilion. The boxes are all of the varying dimensions. Their unequal depth is expressed in the interior of the hut, shaping a complex topological space inside the primitive volume.


From the inside, the hut almost appears to be folding in on itself, spare for the view at the far end, which overlooks the valley and provides the occupants with a point of reference.


Photos © Tim Cousin, Maxence Grangegot, Clara Copiglia, Eytan Levi, Edouard Legard

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

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