rintala eggertsson architects recognizes that shaping a space for a writer is a demanding task – the space must stimulate the inhabitant’s creative process while simultaneously offering a firm framework for their physical needs. with these constraints, the studio saw the opportunity for a dialogue between conflicting needs. in designing the ‘in praise of shadows’ cabin, the studio emphasized this connection between the physical actions of the inhabitant and the mental tasks they will take on.


the cabin is part of a writer’s residency program at the maison de l’écriture, a literature institute in montricher, switzerland. 16 international architecture practices were invited to submit proposals in a design competition. the proposal by rintala eggertsson came out as one of 6 winners selected for realization.

rintala eggertsson writers cabin
all images courtesy of valentin jeck



to integrate the writer’s physical and mental needs, rintala eggertsson architects sought a programmatic hierarchy — ascending from the ‘mundane’ at the bottom — sanitary and storage functions — through the kitchen to the living and sleeping rooms, and finally to the writing room on top. these zones maintain a large degree of interconnectivity due to the fact that they are set on half-levels to each other. while the writer may easily circulate between the living spaces, this topmost zone offers the writer an opportunity for isolation. the writing room serves as an ultimate destination which will not be passed through.

rintala eggertsson writers cabin



the need for privacy drove the spatial organization of the suspended hut. the designers strove to provide the inhabitant with the chance for both quiet concentration and a sense of independence from the neighboring residents. the designers gave a high degree of specificity in the directionality of each space’s entrance. the entrance to the toilet and the writing room, for instance, are orientated in opposite directions — towards north-west and south-east, and separated them by one and a half floor. similarly, the kitchen and living room face opposite directions and are separated by a half floor. the outward-looking entrances allow the inhabitant to re-connect with the site during moments of transition, as much time is spent within the nest-like interior.

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