The beauty and serenity of nature inspired two students while they were on a fishing trip in rural Finland in 2012.
Timm Bergmann, studying architecture and Jonas Becker, studying urban design, decided to build a nature retreat, and later that very evening, they made the plan for an Eco-Friendly Tiny House.
They designed a minimalist eco-friendly tiny house cabin of 280-square-foot.
They wanted to test their knowledge of the first years in university. They found a lakeside site to lease with a forest opening into a glade near Bergmann’s grandparents’ farm.
However, they had to be creative and find a solution to the lack of electricity, running water and road access.
They pointed out that the landscape and nature outside of the house was the most important thing for them. The place is surrounded by two different kinds of forests of pine and birch trees, so they tried to keep as many trees and wildlife as possible.
Their commitment to sustainable ideals, a tiny budget, and the site’s swampy conditions shaped the design of the minimalist and prefabricated timber cabin, which is an ideal, nature-connected retreat away from city stresses.
Access was their first goal, so they constructed a 650 foot long elevated path to the nearest road. They filled steel pipes with concrete and anchored them into the bedrock as the foundation.
Next, they added wooden planks across the pipes to walk over the swampy area.
Traditional concrete was not an option, as their vision was that in case the cabin is removed, no sign of its existence should remain.
They made the 17 frames from local wood at Bergmann’s grandparents’ farm and carried each of them across the walkway to the site.
The structure is covered with 18mm pine plywood sheets and insulated with local recycled newspaper. Since each modular frame would have to be carried over the wooden walkway, they made each unit to weigh no more than 220 pounds.
They placed the recycled furniture in position and afterward build the house around it.
Due to a tiny budget, they couldn’t afford to buy furniture, so they instead used mid century furnishings they collected in Germany and found on Bergmann’s grandparents’ property.
To build an environmentally-friendly house, they chose wood as the ideal material to fulfill their requirements. They also applied for and received building permission and approval, and it meets fire regulations.
The simple and flexible home has a bedroom, a kitchen, a sauna, and a composting toilet in an outhouse.
The sauna is installed at the far end of the cabin. The multipurpose space can be accessed through the bedroom or via the outdoor terrace. The space can also be used for cooking.
The designers constructed the benchtops in the sauna and the kitchen, as well as the bedroom cabinetry.
The duo explained that assembling and building part took five months, but they also had their, work, and life in Germany. Therefore, they traveled from Germany to the remote lakeside site in Finland over three summers. Friends from Germany would occasionally visit to help them with construction, which earned them lifelong rights to use the cabin for holidays.
They added that when they started the concept for the house, they asked themselves what do they really need to be happy and realized that a design of four rooms on less than 26 square meters would make them feel comfortable and happy.
The Werkstattofen wood stove which can be found in hardware stores across Northern Europe, keeps the cabin warm in winter, as it transfers heat quickly and can heat the cabin up in less than 15 minutes.
They also made certain changes along the way. For instance, they extended the terrace, built the roof themselves—contrary to the initial plan—and made the stovepipes themselves.
Bergmann added that they wanted to show that a house does not have to be large, and building something beautiful does not have to be expensive.
The two students pointed out that building the house in such a way that nature can revive and that they are not dominating the place was of utmost importance.
Therefore, the house cost $13,449, the majority of which was spent on the double-glazed windows and timber materials.
This success encouraged them to start a design firm, Studio Politaire.
They aim to be different from the others in the building sector, and switch to more environmentally friendly materials, instead of steel and concrete.
While many people would dislike the idea of living without electricity and running water, Bergmann and Becker maintain that we need to start questioning ourselves in eco-sufficiency.
The two claim that by questioning their needs and defining what is luxury for them contributed to the quality of their cabin, and didn’t make it less satisfying.
They believe luxury can always be found in detail and small architecture when it provides for the needs of the people living there.